Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight

Protiviti Board Perspectives
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Issue
94
08/2017
There is no better time to prepare for an economic downturn than when times are good. With the memory of the severity of the 2007-2008 financial crisis still fresh in the minds of many directors and executives, how should companies prepare for a downturn in the cool of the day, rather than reacting in crisis mode? At this time, an economic downturn is not anticipated by most established business plans. However, as the last downturn had severe consequences for many organizations, a contingency plan makes good business sense because it positions companies to act decisively when recessionary...
Issue
93
07/2017
Every business, whether it handles financial contracts, natural resources, raw materials or components, is dependent upon a well-functioning, cost-effective supply chain. The board, therefore, should consider its oversight of supply chain risks. Operational risk is the risk that one or more future events will impair the effectiveness or viability of the business model in achieving expected financial results and creating sustainable value for customers and stake-holders. It relates to various activities along the value chain within which the organization’s business model operates. One...
Issue
92
06/2017
An effective board of directors is a champion of strong governance for the organization it serves. All aspects of its oversight role are germane to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) — with some oversight activities specific to M&A. The board’s oversight with respect to M&A mirrors its overall focus on advising the CEO — including offering a contrarian voice when necessary — regarding strategic matters, policy approval, enterprise performance monitoring, reporting transparency and enterprise risk management. Our discussion below is from the acquirer’s perspective. In 2016 and 2015, M...
Issue
91
05/2017
Short-termism is not a new concept by any means, but it has become a hot topic of discussion for many boards of directors in recent years. In this article, we explore the implications of short-termism to the board’s risk oversight process and how the board can ensure its oversight is not compromised. Short-termism can mean many things, but it typically refers to an environment in which the focus on short-term results is so myopic that it results in the neglect of important longer-term interests. In a recent survey of more than 600 public company directors and governance professionals, 75...
Issue
90
04/2017
Boards remain concerned with the security and availability of information systems and the protection of confidential, sensitive data from the commercial cyber war in which their organizations are engaged. Many executives think their risk tolerance is low, yet act as though it is relatively high, thus necessitating board engagement with cybersecurity A top five risk for many organizations across many industries, cyber risk presents a moving target as organizations undergo major IT transformations, accelerate cloud computing adoption, increase digitization investments, advance data and...
Issue
89
03/2017
An effective risk assessment is fundamental to risk management and the board’s risk oversight process. Successful risk assessments help directors and executive management identify emerging risks and face the future confidently. An enterprise risk assessment (ERA) is a systematic and forward-looking analysis of the impact and likelihood of potential future events and scenarios on the achievement of an organization’s business objectives within a stated time horizon. In many organizations, the process begins with an articulation of the governing business objectives and a common risk language to...
Issue
88
02/2017
We’ve always believed that boards should ensure that their organizations maximize the full potential of internal audit. There are four C’s directors should consider when evaluating the sufficiency of any risk-based audit plan: culture, competitiveness, compliance and cybersecurity. In 2016, The Institute of Internal Auditors  (The IIA) and Protiviti conducted the world’s largest ongoing study of the internal audit profession — the Global Internal Audit Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) — to ascertain expectations from key stakeholders, including board members, regarding internal audit...
Issue
87
01/2017
North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative and Protiviti have completed the latest survey of C-level executives and directors regarding the macroeconomic, strategic and operational risks their organizations face. The top risks for 2017 provide insight as to what issues are currently top of mind for leaders around the globe. A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) reported that, according to the vast majority (96 percent) of directors, “big picture” risks are overseen at the full board level. This view of risks includes those with broad...
Issue
86
12/2016
A strong brand has a significant impact when it comes to driving shareholder value. What role should the board play in overseeing management’s stewardship of the company’s brand and/or brand portfolio? Branding is the process by which a company establishes a significant and differentiated presence in the marketplace that attracts and retains loyal, long-term customers. A brand is a non-generic name, logo, messaging and/or packaging used by a company to identify, source and differentiate its product and service offerings from competitors’ offerings. A strong, well-known brand is revealing, as...
Issue
85
11/2016
In many organizations, board risk oversight is enhanced when the board and executive management are supported by an effective independent risk management function. Positioning the chief risk officer (or equivalent executive) and the independent risk management function – which we refer to collectively as “CRO” in this publication – to deliver to expectations requires an understanding of how the CRO role can succeed.  The ultimate advocate for risk management in any enterprise is arguably the CEO. However, CROs are unique in that they are often expected to provide a voice that champions the...