DID - Boards At Risk


Boards At Risk
Executive Summary

The Board's main responsibility is to steward its institution through risks and opportunities. Nonetheless, Boards are also at risk—their exposure goes beyond the immediate success or failure of the institution they supervise—they need to balance long-term stewardship with short term survival. Boards are at risk because of their own ability (or lack thereof) to steer complex institutions through the murky meanders of reputational hits, business disruptions, economic shocks, leadership breakdowns and organisational failures.

Programme Details

Boards are ill-prepared to oversee and manage the rising complexity and normalisation of deviance. They need to better understand what strong risk prevention and rich opportunity optimisation entails. They often rely on gut and overlook the lessons from sophistication, thus putting themselves at risk.

Facilitated by Professor Didier Cossin, the session explored best Board risk practices, inspired by his clinical work with Boards in Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas and explore cases on reputation hits (VW, FIFA), economic tsunamis (ICBC, the Fed, UBS, Sinopec), geopolitics (United Nations, Gazprombank, The Red Cross), misconduct (Standard Chartered) and near-death experiments (Nokia). Professor Cossin will be joined by eminent chairmen and directors to discuss:

  • Risk lessons from recent times
  • Causes of 95% of Board failures
  • The four pillars of risk thinking
  • Disruptive behaviours and Board breakdowns in front of risks
  • Building the risk culture from the board
  • Principles of risk education
  • Diagnostics of risk preparedness
  • Red flags of risk unpreparedness
Your Facilitator
Didier Cossin
Didier Cossin

Didier Cossin is the UBS Chair in Banking and Finance at IMD and is the founding director of the IMD Global Board Center. His clinical work on risk governance has taken him to some of the leading business institutions, with a specialisation in banks, oil and gas and large caps (ICBC, ABC, HSBC, Shell, etc.). He also works with supervisory authorities (notably in China and in Europe), central banks, ministries, as well as supra-national organisations (World Bank, United Nations).

Professor Cossin has published four books and many articles, some of which have received awards for excellence. Before joining IMD, he worked for Goldman Sachs (London, UK) and has taught at Harvard University, where he obtained two Derek Bok Awards for excellence in teaching, and then at HEC, University of Lausanne.

Attendees Included
  • Board Chairs and Non-Executive Directors of publicly listed, private and non-profit corporations
  • Government agency representatives
  • Social enterprise representatives


When & Where
2 Mar 2016
1 day
Quarterly series

"The topic is timely and relevant given the fast changing markets. The quality of the presenter and materials enhanced the discussion with a diversified and interesting audience. I would most certainly recommend this series to other directors."

Amy Lee, Non-Executive Director, Clifford Capital Pte Ltd

"It is always good to be reminded...to not take risks for granted and as Board members we should be taking the lead in aligning the organisation's strategies and activities...The keywords that come to mind are innovation and sustainability. Professor Didier...makes the topic of risk and the complexities of managing risk in a corporation very real and compelling."

Kevin Kwok, Independent Non-Executive Director, Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust Management Ltd

"Very relevant topic and experienced facilitator made for a very informative and useful seminar. The high quality of participants also helped in engaging conversations, both formal and informal."

Gautam Banerjee, Board Director, Singapore Airlines Limited

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