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EMEA 360 Boardroom Survey
Agenda priorities across the region
Deloitte is pleased to present the inaugural EMEA 360 Boardroom Survey. The survey presents the views of 271 directors across 20 countries in the EMEA region, providing a unique perspective on the issues currently faced by boards of directors. The results highlight the changing focus of directors in today’s challenging business environment and how this differs across the region.
About the report
The report illustrates what non-executive directors identify as key issues facing boards over the past 12 months and what are expected to be the main issues in the next 12-24 months. It goes on to focus more specifically on six aspects of corporate governance: strategy and risk; innovation; cyber security; remuneration of senior executives; boardroom succession and talent; and board performance and evaluation.
This report considers not just the overall views of respondents in EMEA, but also looks at differences and similarities between countries and industry sectors, raising some thought-provoking ideas about the nature of corporate governance practices within the EMEA region and how opinions and practice may be evolving.
Growth and competition will be key issues in the next 12-24 months
Non-executive directors appear to be adopting a slightly more optimistic outlook for growth and competitiveness in the short to medium term compared to the recent past. In addition, there is a continuing prioritisation of strategy, performance, risk management and regulation & compliance. Previous concerns about cost reduction and capital management, in response to adverse economic conditions, have diminished.
An effective and flexible strategy remains important for growth
An effective and flexible strategy continues be a top priority for our respondents. Active consideration of risk is identified as a crucial element in the development of an effective and flexible strategy with almost 85 per cent of Belgian respondents indicating they were satisfied that risk management is well integrated into strategic decision-making at board level.
Innovation gains in importance
The results of the survey show that innovation is high up the Board’s agenda. In Belgium, where there is a well-established start-up and entrepreneurial culture, innovation features highly on boardroom agendas. Innovation plans mainly focus on process, business model and product innovation. A large majority of Belgian respondents further indicated that innovation and idea generation is generally encouraged within the company and that a good balance is struck between the innovation strategy and the level of risk the Board is willing to take.
Growing relevance of cyber security
Cyber security has become a far more important issue for non-executive directors, ranking it high upon their agenda for the next 12 to 24 months in comparison to the past year. The emergence of cyber security as a significant issue may be due partly to its visibility in media reports and the threat to reputational risk of companies that become victim of a successful cyber attack. Despite its importance, less than 25 per cent of Belgian respondents stated that their organisation currently had an action plan in place to deal with cyber security.
Strong and effective leadership at board level is a major concern
A large majority of Belgian respondents stated that the composition of the Board is adequately reviewed to ensure that the appropriate skills are available. Industry knowledge, strategic direction of the company and international development aspirations are the main factors taken into account when determining the future skill requirements of the Board. In terms of diversity, 75 per cent of Belgian respondents indicated that internationalisation is the main criterion followed by gender and professional qualification.
Board evaluations are on the rise!
From a governance perspective, board evaluations are important as they allow a board to recognise its own weaknesses and plan changes in its training, activities and membership to address them. 42 per cent of Belgian respondents have indicated that they have always performed this type of evaluations, with 25 per cent stating that this is something they have recently implemented. These evaluations are generally conducted internally and mainly focus on strategy and leadership. Rather surprising, only 63 per cent of the Belgian respondents indicate that the results of the board evaluation are used to affect future change.
Throughout the EMEA region, corporate governance arrangements differ substantially, not just between countries, but also between listed and non-listed companies.
The Country Profile document gives an overview of governance regulations and practice on a country-by-country basis, for the 20 countries participating in our study. They show the requirements or recommendations and practices relating to the structure of boards, independence of directors, and employee and shareholder representation at board level.
The profiles also provide high-level information linked to the regulatory bodies for corporate governance in the individual countries, corporate governance codes and other key documents in place. This does not necessarily provide the complete picture but if you would like more information please reach out to your local Deloitte Corporate Governance expert.