Once considered unthinkable, shareholder-director communication has become a critical part of investor relations, and the board of directors is increasingly a central player in shareholder engagement.
The2019 NACD Blue Ribbon Commission Report – Fit for the Future – states that “board leaders are the linchpins on many key issues including stakeholder relations, particularly board-shareholder engagement.”
Adopting such proactive practices can lay the foundation to a healthy, sustainable, and long-term relationship with shareholders.
And there is a flip-side advantage to shareholder engagement that provides an opportunity for directors to gain insights on investment decisions and performance measurements directly from shareholders in a candid, ongoing exchange. As guardians of shareholder capital it is important for directors to receive unfiltered views, which may not always align with management.
To bring the topic of shareholder engagement to a fresh and elevated level, NACD Philadelphiawill bring to the stage Roy Dunbar, a seasoned director of Fortune 500 companies and a 2019 NACD Blue Ribbon Commissioner, and Jessica Wirth Strine of Vanguard Investment Stewardship. Together, they will share their perspectives and address your questions on shareholder-director engagement.
Roy Dunbar is founder of private companies focused on renewable energy and property development. He served in roles as CEO and Chairman of Network Solutions between 2008 and 2010. Dunbar was formerly president Global Technology and Operations at MasterCard.
Dunbar joined MasterCard from Eli Lilly where he worked for 14 years, serving as president Intercontinental Region, and earlier as Chief Information Officer. As president Intercontinental Region he oversaw all business operations in the world’s fastest growing economies, including Brazil, Russia, India and China. He served as vice president and CIO from 1999 to 2003 and is credited with having led Eli Lilly to rank as the most innovative user of technology in the pharmaceutical industry. InformationWeek named him CIO of the Year in 2003.
Dunbar is a member of the board of Humana, Johnson Controls, and SiteOne. Dunbar was named to NACD Directorship 100 in 2015.
Jessica Wirth Strine is a senior manager on the Vanguard Investment Stewardship team. In her role, she leads engagement with public company executives and directors, on topics including board composition, executive compensation, governance structures, and board oversight of risk & strategy. In addition, she leads an interdisciplinary working group at Vanguard, addressing the investment implications of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors for Vanguard’s investors.
Ms. Strine joined Vanguard in 2018. Prior to joining Vanguard, Ms. Strine spent 16 years in active portfolio management. Most recently, she served as a director of research and a sector portfolio manager in BlackRock’s fundamental active equities business. Prior to BlackRock, Ms. Strine was an equity analyst and sector portfolio manager at Putnam Investments, after beginning her career in equity research at Wellington Management Company. Ms. Strine earned a BA in Psychological & Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College, and an MBA with a Finance concentration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.