The 2018 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit, the largest and most significant director forum in the world, attracted more than 1,800 attendees from across the globe, including 600 NACD Fellows. The 2018 theme, Transformation, encompassed culture, growth, governance, communities, and capitalism. 2018 highlights include speakers like these:
Janet Yellen, former Federal Reserve chair, spoke on the major trends currently shaping the American workforce, the future of our economy, and the ways in which US economic policymaking shapes the financial health of the world at large. “The last 10 years have been about putting in place a stronger system of financial regulation that would mitigate the odds of a future crisis. This has made our banking system much stronger and more resilient.”
Peter Gleason, NACD president and CEO, spoke to the more than 1,800 directors in attendance about the power they hold to create jobs, grow the economy, and drive transformation using their unique influence. “There are relatively few of us, but the power here is remarkable,” he said. He closed by underscoring to attendees that “it’s up to us. . . . We are, indeed, the key to the transformation we are seeking.”
John W. Rogers, founder of Ariel Investments and chair and CEO of Ariel Fund, has led Ariel Investments, a value-based mutual fund and investment company, since founding it in 1983, and he serves on the boards of McDonald’s Corp., The New York Times Co., and Exelon Corp. Ariel was the first black-owned mutual fund business in the United States. Rogers spoke on the economy, diversity, social engagement, and being a good director, and about his belief in patience as a winning strategy in investing. His advice for first-time directors: (1) be a good listener, (2) ask clear and direct questions, and (3) pick two or three things you are comfortable with and make them your own.
Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), shared the FBI’s approach to partnering with companies across industries and sectors to foster cybersecurity and prevent economic espionage. Underscoring that the FBI is ready to work shoulder-to-shoulder with its private sector partners on cybersecurity, Wray said, “When I look at the dedication and commitment to [cybersecurity, as well as] the sophistication and entrepreneurial spirit that extends [across] our private sector, I would stack [our companies] against those of any other country in the world.”
Emily Chang, anchor of Bloomberg Technology and author of Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, emceed the NACD NXT awards ceremony. Chang suggested that including women and people of color in leadership roles could have stoked greater innovation at technology companies, and from the perspective of the end-user experience, made for more inclusive online environments.
The NACD NXT Recognition Awards, in collaboration with Deloitte, were given to four companies for excellence in harnessing board diversity and innovation as a strategy for building long-term value. The winners—Newmont Mining Company (large-cap company), Foot Locker (mid-cap company), TrueBlue (small-cap company), and Liberty Mutual Insurance (private company)—were recognized at a gala kicking off NACD NXT, a multiyear initiative to equip board directors to better navigate the rapidly changing business environment and challenges of the future. In addition to the awards, the initiative will provide case studies and practical tools to help directors and boards lead with confidence, and help prepare the next generation of board leaders through scholarship and education. See the 2018 winners here.
Quoted at Summit
“I know there’s a reluctance out there sometimes to turn to the feds when you’ve been hacked,” Wray said at a meeting of the National Association of Corporate Directors in Washington.
- FBI Director Christopher Wray’s NACD Summit Address
“The important thing is to establish an environment in the boardroom of challenging and questioning. You may not know what the risks are, what the unknown unknowns are. But by asking questions you can get closer to identifying them.”
- Sue Cole, NACD Blue Ribbon Commission Co-Chair
“...when it comes to assessing disruptive risks -- i.e., risks that can impact a company's bottom line, reputation, and so forth…If you find yourself having to set up a special meeting once or twice a year, so be it.”
He went on to stress the importance of boards being proactive and doing their best to unearth the “risks you don't know.”
- NACD Blue Ribbon Commission Co-Chair Kelvin Westbrook
“California will be a great test for the rest of the nation,” said management consultant Cari Dominguez, former chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission...a director of several companies and member of the National Association of Corporate Director's board...
- The Honorable Cari Dominguez on the CA law mandating women on boards
“I urge you not to take that approach. It's far better to say, ‘Look, we understand your concern. Here's what we are doing in this area.’” He was referring to shareholders who bring a resolution up for a vote during annual meetings to ask companies to provide information about ESG matters.
- SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson
Discussions among commissioners for this year’s forthcoming NACD Blue Ribbon Commission report, which will be released at the organization’s Global Board Leaders’ Summit in October, highlight directors’ continued frustration with corporate risk management—especially with respect to the threats posed by disruptive risks.
As an executive and in-house general counsel, I was unsure about the value of the conference for my role. Having spent four days viewing the world through the lens of a director, I have more insight into advising my board (and management) in today's real world.
Who Attended 2018 Summit
2018 Summit Press Coverage
October 4, 2018