Insight

On the 2021 private company board agenda

Drawing on insights from our work and interactions with public and private company directors and business leaders, we’ve highlighted nine items for private company boards to consider as they focus their 2021 agendas.

COVID-19, recession, extreme weather events, deep-seated social unrest, and an increasingly polarized America all paint a picture of a daunting and opaque business and risk environment for the year ahead. Global volatility—driven by trade and geopolitical tensions, resurging debt, technology and business model disruption, elevated cyber risk, regulatory scrutiny, and political gridlock in the U.S. and elsewhere—will add to the challenge. The pressure on employees, management, boards, and governance will be significant.

Indeed, private company boards may see 2021 as an opportunity to fine tune strategy and corporate governance, with demands for greater attention to corporate purpose and stakeholder views, corporate culture and incentives, diversity and inclusion, the richness of boardroom dialogue and debate, and the company’s (and board’s) readiness for the risks and opportunities ahead.

Drawing on insights from our latest survey work and interactions with directors and business leaders, we highlight nine issues for private company boards to keep in mind as they consider and carry out their 2021 agendas:

  • Maintain focus on management’s response to COVID-19, while keeping sight of the bigger picture.
  • Build the talent in the boardroom around the company’s strategy and future needs.
  • Make human capital management and CEO succession a priority.
  • Ask whether the company is doing enough to make real and lasting changes to combat systemic bias and racism.
  • Reevaluate the company’s focus on ESG and corporate purpose.
  • Help set the tone and monitor the culture throughout the organization.
  • Reassess whether crisis readiness and resilience plans are effectively linked to the company’s key risks.
  • Approach cybersecurity and data privacy holistically as data governance.
  • Closely monitor management’s progress on implementing new FASB standards.

 

 

 

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On the 2021 private company board agenda
Nine items for private company boards to consider for their 2021 agendas from the KPMG Board Leadership Center.

Also see our other 2021 board committee messages

KPMG's annual messages to directors focusing on the critical issues that should be high on board, audit committee, nominating and governance committee, compensation committee, and private company board agendas.

KPMG's annual messages to directors focusing on the critical issues that should be high on board, audit committee, nominating and governance committee, compensation committee, and private company board agendas.

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