Didier Cossin webinar - IMD Business School

Best-in-class boards and post-COVID-19 governance

What makes great governance today and how can your board achieve it?
55 min.
May 2020


In a world deeply changed by the coronavirus, boards are preparing for fully renewed governance: new topics, new practices, new concerns.

During this webinar – which appeared live on 29th May 2020 – Didier Cossin, IMD Professor of Governance, Founder and Director of the IMD Global Board Center explores the major shifts that boards are preparing to address, from technology to geopolitics, and from M&As and consolidation to future supply chains.

Professor Cossin dissects the effects on principles of governance, which are shaken as new diversity replaces old diversity and as command economies challenge state-to-business relations. Using recent examples, Professor Cossin explains how governance quality has been a key driver of performance during the crisis, and how it will remain a key differentiator in the post-crisis world.

The webinar examines the principal question – what makes great governance today? – in depth.

One aspect of great governance is successful board work in the post-COVID-19 world, according to Professor Cossin. Different boards have different strategies, but in the end a few key ingredients are necessary for success.

“Where and how does the board play its role?” Professor Cossin questions. “Is it co-creating the strategy or is it supervising the strategy?

He has been teaching boards – for decades before the current crisis – that they must prepare in advance for such disruptions. Professor Cossin notes that “Preparation is everything”, adding that, surprisingly, more than half of companies do not have proper crisis management strategies in place.

“Profits are still the best proof that you are using your capital and resources from society properly.” Professor Cossin insists.

Examining the post-COVID-19 period, Professor Cossin delves into the new challenges to board effectiveness post-crisis.

Six factors are very important: technology and new ways of working; globalization and geopolitics; stakeholder management; consolidation and M&As; shareholder power; and stewardship.

“Certain skills are often lacking on boards,” says Professor Cossin, “Digital skills are not always the most important of them, surprisingly – it can be political or geopolitical savvy.”

For the Q&A session, Professor Cossin is joined by moderator Stephen Smulowitz, Term Research Professor, IMD Global Board Center, and answers questions on climate and society and how they are challenging boards, amongst other topics.


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