Preparing for conflict in the boardroom: Thoughts and strategies for general counsel

There is a common perception that corporate board meetings are rather staged and, frankly, boring. After all, boards approach decision making through a deliberative, consensus-building process. Certain issues are deliberated and voted on; other issues request director observations to guide management.

But external factors are forcing change. With increasing transparency demanded of public companies combined with growing investor activism, corporate board meetings are becoming more visible and more contentious—in a polite sort of way. Conflicts in boardrooms should not be surprising, given the that most of the easy questions in the life of a corporation are answered at management levels far below that of the CEO, the CFO, the general counsel and the company’s board of directors.

Christine A. Edwards

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