Boards of directors have a lot – maybe too much – to do. Subjects long believed to be the province of management are now viewed as being in the board’s wheelhouse, and when a problem arises with respect to any of those subjects, the first question asked by investors, regulators, the media, and others is often “where was the board?” So it is with a degree of reluctance that I am writing to suggest another subject that I believe boards need to address.
Some background may be in order. A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting of the American Bar Association International Law Section in Madrid. (How a US-centric lawyer ended up at that meeting is a tale for another day.) The trip, the city, and the conference were wonderful; I met some extraordinary people and was beyond grateful that I was able to go. I also learned a lot, mostly on things like international trade and customs law, cross-border discovery, and other topics that I don’t often encounter in my practice.
Another panel that I thought had little to do with my practice turned out to be the most compelling panel of them all, and it definitely is relevant to my practice and to the observation above about the ever-growing responsibilities of the board. The title of the panel was “Recognizing Human Trafficking as a Common Occurrence During Conflict, and Building Protection and Anti-Trafficking Strategies into Global Responses”. I suppose the title of the panel could have been more succinct, but – as the moderator of the panel suggested – a more helpful change might have been to give a trigger warning before the panel got underway.
Continue Reading Yet another thing for boards to consider