Boards of Directors and Corporate Strategy in an Uncertain Context

Madrid, Spain and Online | October 4-5, 2021

In a climate of increasing uncertainty, Boards of Directors are challenged to inform and structure themselves so as to make productive corporate strategy decisions.

Corporate strategy is central to companies’ long-term outlook and to their financial results. As boards of directors are entrusted with governing firms for long-term sustainably, boards must make important decisions about corporate strategy. Furthermore, investors increasingly expect boards of directors to understand and discuss business strategy with their CEOs to make sure that strategy and strategic decisions will help their company create sustainable economic value. 

Boards that deal with strategy face a complex task. Boards of directors must comprehensively understand a company’s business and its industry, as well as the main issues in important strategies like digital transformation, de-carbonization, acquisitions, mergers, spin-offs and corporate restructuring. Certain decisions require specific knowledge and capabilities. The process by which the board makes the final strategic decision are also very relevant, since they may influence the outcome. Issues such as board dynamics, the tone at the top, the interaction between the board and the CEO, relations between the board and key shareholders or among the different board members, influence this process. 

As the level of strategic uncertainties that companies and their boards face increases, it becomes even more critical that boards develop appropriate criteria and frameworks to tackle these strategic challenges and make decisions, in particular, in contexts of high uncertainty. 

The 2021 IESE-ECGI Corporate Governance Conference gathered scholars of corporate strategy, corporate finance, and organizational economics to study these issues from the specific angle of the board of directors as the top decision-maker in an organization.

Academic Leaders

Jordi Canals – IESE Business School

Marco Becht – Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management at the Free University of Brussel

Academic Committee

John Almandoz  - IESE Business School

África Ariño - IESE Business School

Marco Becht – Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management at the Free University of Brussels

Jordi Canals – IESE Business School

Marta Elvira - IESE Business School

Fabrizio Ferraro - IESE Business School

Mireia Giné - IESE Business School

Gaizka Ormazabal - IESE Business School and ECGI

Joan Enric Ricart - IESE Business School

Speakers

Margarethe F. Wiersema - University of California, Irvine
Boards, Activist Investors and Strategic Decision-Making

Bengt Holmström - MIT and ECGI
Corporate Governance, Boards of Directors and Corporate Strategy

Ioannis Ioannou - London Business School
Sustainability Strategy

Reneé Adams - Oxford University
Boards of Directors and Governance During the Pandemic

Jay B. Barney - University of Utah
Boards and Strategy: Managing Conflicts Among Stakeholders

Discussants & Chairs

Discussants

Gaizka Ormazabal - IESE Business School and ECGI

Sophie L'Helias - LeaderXXChange

Fabrizio Ferraro - IESE Business School

Francisco Reynés - Naturgy

Joan Enric Ricart - IESE Business School

Chairs

Colin Mayer - Oxford University

Marta Elvira - IESE Business School

Pascual Berrone - IESE Business School

Mireia Giné - IESE Business School

África Ariño - IESE Business School

Roundtables & Other Sessions

Strategy, Sustainability and Transformation: A Dialogue

Jean-Pascal Tricoire - Schneider Electric

Moderator: Jordi Canals, IESE Business School

Boards of Directors and Corporate Strategy

Denise Kingsmill - Inditex, Board Member
Tobías Martínez - Cellnex, CEO
Rafael del Pino - Ferrovial, Chairman
Risto Siilasmaa - Investor and former Chairman of Nokia

Moderator: Jordi Canals, IESE Business School

Strategy and  Sustainability. A Board Perspective

Herman Daems - BNP Paribas Fortis, Chairmain
Sophie L’Hélias - LeaderXXChange, President
Juvencio Maeztu - Ingka Ikea, Deputy CEO and CFO

Moderator: Jordi Gual, IESE Business School