In March 2010, the White House Writers Group along with Bloomberg, The Torrenzano Group, and CED held a Bloomberg Boards & Risk Briefing in New York City on changes to proxy rules that will have a tremendous impact on American corporations.
It was a half-day briefing on these new developments and what information, strategies, and techniques executives need to address them. There were discussions and presentations with leading experts in corporate governance, law, public policy, strategic communications, and investor relations.
The regulatory reach of Washington is pulling together a qualitatively different kind of economy for America. The alphabet agencies – from the FCC to the FTC – are fighting with gusto and attacking with new and complex regulatory issues.
The SEC is preparing new access-to-the-proxy rules while legislators propose rules on “say-on-pay,” additional powers for financial regulators, as well as new legislative proposals on corporate governance and non-shareholder rights. The EPA is reversing judgments, thereby initiating sweeping reviews of scientific issues believed long settled.
At the individual company level, activists, unions, and special interest groups are skillfully using new technologies to drive their narrow agendas, affect board voting, and disrupt annual meetings.
Behind Washington’s Closed Doors: What Will Happen Next?
Clark S. Judge, Managing Director, White House Writers Group
On the front page of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, two unrelated articles pointed to a greater story.
The first concerned a 15- or 16-year-old factory girl in Bangladesh. Her name was Mahinur Akhter. She survived five weeks of burial in the collapsed garment factory where she had worked. A seamstress, she had earned $90-100 a month, essential to her family. Her father died in a traffic accident last year. She now struggles with fear of returning to rickety industrial buildings versus the needs of her mother and siblings. But the tragedy of the factories is part of a greater story of hope.
“For millions” in Bangladesh, the article noted, “global demand for cheap garments provides a chance to lift their families from destitution.” It continued: