Shareholder Activism

Shareholder activism is emerging as one of the top corporate governance issues facing companies today. Originating with the “corporate raiders” of the 1970s and 1980s, activism has evolved to become a more mainstream element of the corporate governance landscape. For Chief HR Officers, understanding shareholder activism is essential to helping your CEO, management team and board of directors develop effective strategies to prevent a disruptive activist engagement, or to work effectively with an activist who seeks a constructive engagement. Regardless of the activist, an engagement will almost always result in changes to the dynamics of the boardroom, disruption in the C-Suite, and will require ongoing efforts to keep employees engaged throughout what can be a significant, and often public, distraction. In addition to the change and disruption created by an activist, in many cases activists will target executive compensation and other governance practices as key areas for change. As a result, CHROs may also be called upon to defend or revise the company’s current pay plans and practices, especially with regard to the link between pay and performance.