What the U.S. Can Learn from European Boards (and Vice Versa)

Inside Europes Boardrooms
While there are many similarities between U.S. and European corporate governance, there are also key differences-many of which hold lessons for boards on both sides of the pond.

In this special European edition of Inside America's Boardrooms, we film from Diligent's Director Experience, an international gathering of board members that recently took place in Lake Como, Italy. Host TK Kerstetter welcomes multinational corporate director Sara Mathew. Mathew is the audit chair of Shire, a biotech firm in Dublin; audit chair of U.S.-based Campbell Soup and Freddie Mac; and a board member with State Street Global Advisors.

In this episode, Kerstetter asks Mathew two questions: (1) What can U.S. boards learn from their European counterparts? (2) What can European boards learn from the U.S.?

Drawing on her own experience, Mathew offers a unique perspective and comparative analysis on shareholder engagement, activism, term limits, CEO compensation, and board leadership.

[blockquote source="Sara Mathew, Audit Chair, Shire (Dublin), Campbell Soup and Freddie Mac"]Separating the role of chair and CEO does not ensure great returns...but there's something [to be said] about the governance associated with separating it. It does require that the role of the board starts to shift. There's greater engagement with shareholders, so you leave the CEO to run the company, and then you truly leave the chair to focus on managing the board and managing the investors who we represent as the fiduciary.[/blockquote]

Mathew also sheds light on what it's like to serve as a corporate board member in multiple countries.