Board Leadership Forum

The Board Leadership Forum, run in partnership with Deloitte, is a unique peer network of board chairs and lead directors of public and private corporations that meets periodically to engage on the distinctive challenges and opportunities they face. Chairs and lead directors now have a more important role than ever. Activist shareholders, challenging economies, geopolitical changes, and other disparate forces have placed the traditional boardroom model under siege. At the same time, boards are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, and are being called upon to help address systemic racism. The Board Leadership Forum offers a place for chairs and lead directors to work through those challenges with, and learn from, their distinguished peers. Sessions of the Forum are designed to be interactive, encouraging robust discussion among the group and with the influential guests invited to discuss the latest issues, research, trends and perspectives on topics most relevant to today’s board leaders.

In response to the many questions we have received from the Board Leadership Forum community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adapting how we keep this peer group engaged on timely and important topics in the immediate future. To that end, we are hosting periodic, virtual sessions of the Forum.

Recent sessions have featured discussions on:

  • How to add value as Board Chair or Independent Lead Director, and the key distinctions between the two roles, with Rich Daly (Executive Chairman, Broadridge Financial Solutions), Ilene Gordon (Presiding Independent Director, International Paper), and Mel Lagomasino (Lead Independent Director, The Coca-Cola Company)
  • The role of the board in overseeing ESG risks and initiatives with special guests Janine Guillot (CEO, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board), Christine Poon (Lead Independent Director, Prudential Financial), and Kristen Sullivan (Deloitte Sustainability Leader), moderated by Dr. Bruce Kogut (Columbia Business School)
  • How boards and management continue to enhance cultural capital with new and existing talent in light of a sustained virtual world
  • Recent Senate developments and legislative initiatives and their implications for the business community with Senator Mitt Romney
  • The role boards play in addressing systemic racism
  • Key risks in the context of reopening of business and the role board leaders should play
  • Caremark duties and "EESG" with Former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, Leo E. Strine, Jr.
  • Executive and director compensation with David Nierenberg (BLF Co-Chair and Millstein Center Advisory Board Chair) and Tara Tays (Deloitte)
  • Ira Millstein's wisdom on governance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic (distilled here by Janet Foutty) and latest information about the pandemic from Dr. Randolph Gordon, public health leader of Deloitte’s preparedness and response to pandemics
  • The Business Roundtable’s “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” – Where do We Go from Here?: a discussion with Maria Ghazal of the Business Roundtable and Holly Gregory of Sidley Austin
  • ESG – Perspectives from an Investor, Board Director, and Chief Governance Officer: an insightful fireside chat with Michelle Edkins (BlackRock) and Peggy Foran (Prudential)
  • The rise of private markets and implications for public companies with Jim Millstein (Co-Chairman, Guggenheim Securities) and Eric Talley (Co-Director of Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership)
  • Culture, leadership, and activism (including an interactive workshop with peer-group discussion)
  • An activist’s perspective: a fireside chat with Nelson Peltz (CEO, Trian Partners) and Theresa Whitmarsh (Executive Director, Washington State Investment Board)

If you are a board chair or lead director that is interested in joining the Board Leadership Forum, or for more information, please contact the Center's Associate Director, Molly Calkins, at mcalkins@law.columbia.edu.