When the only certainty is uncertainty, how do boards weigh in?
The pandemic that began as the novel coronavirus health crisis quickly changed into a many-headed monster, with downward spiraling economies, unprecedented geopolitical tensions, and unexpected societal upheaval. Some say the worst is behind us and that it’s time to focus on new opportunities, while others believe we haven’t hit bottom yet. All would agree that times are highly uncertain, perhaps more so than at any period in living memory.
Moderated by Richard Olfert, Deloitte Canada’s Managing Partner, Regulatory, Quality and Risk & Reputation, the panel of the 2020 edition of our annual Directors’ Series tackles this year’s theme: uncertainty. While the board’s toolkit for risk, strategy, and financial oversight is well developed, the panelists explore whether these tools alone are enough for the world in which we now find ourselves.
This session offers perspectives on the conversations, questions, and insights directors need to have in order to properly discharge their legal responsibilities and add value.
- Frank McKenna - Deputy Chair, Wholesale, TD Bank Group; Chair, Brookfield Asset Management; Director, Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL)
- Janice Rennie - Chair, EPCOR Utilities; Audit Committee Chair, Major Drilling Group
- Jonathan Goodman - Global Managing Partner, Monitor Deloitte; Vice-Chair, Deloitte Canada
- Wesley Hall - Founder and Executive Chairman, Kingsdale Advisors
Our panel discussion uncovered insights about the uncertainty created by the pandemic, including:
- The unique financial oversight challenges posed by the prolonged uncertainty expected to follow the crisis.
- The evolution of the board’s role in strategy formulation and execution, made necessary since the pandemic has accelerated structural change.
- The impact of social turmoil in the United States on the Canadian corporate landscape and the expectations of directors.
- The economic and geopolitical risk to the Canadian economy and Canadian companies as the United States heads toward a presidential election.
The insights of the panellists and participants from across the country can serve as starting points to discuss the major issues with your board, management, and peers. We encourage you to drive the conversation forward.
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