Governing The Global Company

The current era of broader and faster globalization presents new questions and challenges for corporate governance and oversight. But what are the implications in terms of boardroom composition, practices, and the necessary skill-sets for directors? What constitutes an effective global board?

Despite the rise in international corporate business activity in nearly every industry—according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 55 percent of global GDP growth will come from emerging markets by 2019—little has been written about the challenges of governance in a global organization, the unique issues facing the current and future global board, and the experiences of directors who serve on these boards. This report fills that gap.

We set out to explore what, if any, are the defining characteristics of a “global company,” and whether a global board is necessary to govern a global company. It is clear that as companies become increasingly global, boards of directors will likewise need to expand on their geographic diversity and knowledge. We explored questions including: What are the challenges for the boards of highly complex global companies? What can global boards learn from each other and what are the implications for board composition, director skill sets, and key boardroom processes?

Understanding that the answers to these questions can themselves be complex, we sought input from a variety of sources. Our research benefited from the insights of 
nearly 30 experienced directors from around the world who serve on the boards of companies domiciled in Europe, North America and Asia. We thank them for their time and contributions to this report.

We hope you find this report informative and valuable in supporting dialogues in your boardroom about the structure and best practices of the board in an increasingly 
global marketplace.

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