Past Program


The outbreak of a major global pandemic has brought the need for corporate resiliency and nimbleness into sharp focus. The crisis has also elevated societal attention to the unequal distribution of economic benefits, power, and access and the need to take collective action with respect to the impending climate crisis.

The 2020 virtual meeting of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum explored crisis response and leadership addressing what it takes for a business to survive an existential threat, and how companies should tackle both the distinct issues and converging risks around income inequality, COVID-19, climate change and broader issues of systemic inequality.


This online program consisted of four highly interactive modules that facilitated participation from different time zones. We see these four sessions as cumulative discussions and invite all participants to join the full program consisting of two sessions each day on October 9 and 10. In exceptional cases where participants are only able to make one or more sessions, they are invited to do so.

Discussions took place in plenary and small breakout groups.  As always, we adhered to the Chatham House Rule in order to allow for candid and open exchange of ideas. 

Participation in this program was by invitation only.


  1. What does it take for a business to survive an existential threat? 
  2. Shared prosperity:  What is the role of the compensation committee in addressing income inequality?
  3. Are companies prepared to handle the converging risks of COVID-19 and climate change? 
  4. How should boards be addressing Black Lives Matter and broader issues of systemic inequality?


The Forum is primarily intended to benefit directors and principals of corporations organized and operating in various jurisdictions who want an off-the-record opportunity to explore and address some of the greatest challenges facing them as directors in the coming decade. The aim is to help them return to their boardrooms with new ideas which they can implement, and with new partnerships and insights, so that they can become thought leaders and change makers for the coming decades.

Within the overall group, directors have been supplemented by additional voices representing other constituents, based on their relevance to the topic and ability to present constructive but divergent views. These included senior managers; judges, regulators, and policymakers; lawyers; thought leaders and academics; investors; and representatives of key civil society interest groups. 

Since its inauguration in 2015, the Forum has welcomed participants from 25 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the USA.

Nick Allen
Independent non-executive Director, CLP Group
Stacy Baird
Consulting Director, Telecommunications Research Project Corporate; Executive Director, Intellectual Property Program, US-China Clean Energy Forum
Sarah Barker
Head of Climate Risk Governance, Minter Ellison
Christopher Beltran
Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Syntrina Leadership; Co-Founder, Silicon Valley Blockchain Society, USA
Shreya Bose
Associate, International Committee, Red Cross
Byron L. Boston
Treasurer, Salzburg Global Seminar; President and CEO, Dynex Capital
Catherine Brenner
Non-Executive Director, George Institute for Global Health
Irene Britt
CEO, Britt Enterprises LLC
Michele Buchignani
Corporate Director, Westport Fuel Systems
Ravi Chaudhry
Chairman, CeNext Group
Mike Cho
Professor, Strategy and Corporate Governance, Korea University Business School; Senior Executive Advisor, Korea Corporate Governance Service
Andrew Corbett-Nolan
Chief Executive, Good Governance Institute
Eberhard Crain
Founding Managing Partner, CBR Management GmbH
Martin Cubbon
Executive Director, John Swire & Sons Ltd
Gigi Dawe
Director, Corporate Oversight and Governance department, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)
Meghan Day
Senior Director, Board Member Experience, Diligent Corporation
Roland Deiser
Chairman, Center for the Future of Organization, Founder and Chairman, Executive Corporate Learning Forum (ECLF)
Markus Diethelm
Group General Counsel and Member, Group Executive Board, UBS AG
Christopher Fuller
Managing Partner, Verus Investment Partners
Michael Fung
Board of Directors, Floor & Décor; Franklin Covey; 99 Cents Only Stores
Anne Gates
Independent Director, Kroger, Tapestry Inc. and Raymond James; Former President, MGA Entertainment
Jeff Grant
Board of Trustees, Aerospace Corporation; Board of Directors, ANSER Corporation
Linda Griego
Chair, MLK Health and Wellness Community Development Corporation; Chief Executive Officer, Griego Enterprises; Director, ViacomCBS Corporation, American Funds USA
Joe Hurd
Independent Non-Executive Director, GoCo Group plc (LSE: GOCO)
Jim Killerlane
Corporate Secretary, Managing Director, Deputy General Counsel, BNY Mellon
Thomas Komjathy
Non-executive Director, Chairman of Governance and Board Development Committee, World Medical Relief, Inc.
Heather Laychak
Vice President and Chief People Officer,The Aerospace Corporation
Michael Ling
Deputy Company Secretary, CLP Holdings Limited.
Colin Marson
Head, Google for Education (JAPAC)
Elizabeth Mercer
Chief Operating Officer, Conduit Capital Ltd
Mathilde Mesnard
Mathilde Mesnard, Deputy Director, Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Veronika Moeller
Government and Regulatory Affairs manager, Central Europe & EU Policy, Red Bull GmbH; External lecturer, European Policy and Food Law, Management Center Innsbruck.
Zachary Mollengarden
Associate, Three Crowns LLP, Washington, D.C. office
Kate Mozzicarelli
Managing Director, Head of Corporate Advisory Legal team, Morgan Stanley
Barak Orbach
Professor of Law, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
Sandeep Parekh
Founder, Finsec Law Advisors
Pamela Passman
Board Director, Kinaxis Inc.; Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Economics Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)
Seda Röder
Co-Founder, Sonophilia
Dottie Schindlinger
Executive Director, Diligent Institute, Diligent Corporation
Katrina Scotto di Carlo
Co-founder and Creative Director, Supportland
David J. Simmonds
Group General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, CLP Holdings Ltd.
Leo Strine
Of Counsel, Corporate Department, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Margret Suckale
Member, Supervisory Boards, Deutsche Telekom AG, DWS Group GmbH & Co. KG, HeidelbergCement AG and Infineon Technologies AG
Vikas Thapar
Founder & Managing Partner, Indus Capital Ltd.
Oakleigh Thorne
President and CEO, Gogo; Member, Board of Directors, Gogo
Gulnar Vaswani
Chief Culture Officer, Gulnar Vaswani
Robert Walker
Chair of the Board, International Corporate Governance Network
Lihong Wang
Chairwoman and CEO, RISE Education Cayman Ltd,
Jo Weiss
Head of Global Citizenship, White & Case
Molly Zhang
Board Member, GEA Group; Gates Industrial Corp; Enerkem; XG Sciences
Session 1 - Friday October 9 2:00 pm CEST

What does it take for a business to survive an existential threat? 

We begin the forum with a deep dive into one company’s response to the pandemic and how the board navigated the need for a rapid strategic shift.

Together, we will discuss: What response did the COVID-19 pandemic require and was it different from other business transformations?  How and when should management involve the board?  How can boards play an effective role in addressing a threat that requires transformational change?  What skills and tools does a board need to make a difference? 

As is customary, background reading will be provided to participants in advance. 

Session 2 - Friday October 9 5:00 pm CEST

Shared prosperity:  What is the role of the compensation committee in addressing income inequality?

Income inequality, and in particular, workforce compensation has become a flash point in the current crisis.   One of the crucial functions of a board is to determine and set competitive pay packages to attract and retain top key executives. This session will ask what role the board compensation committee should play in ensuring fair compensation for all employees.

Together, we will ask: Should compensation committees provide oversight over all levels of workforce compensation?  Should they be ensuring that all workers are fairly compensated for their contributions to value creation? What should role should they play in the case of outsourced or supplier workers? 

As is customary, background reading will be provided to participants in advance. 

Session 3 - Saturday October 10 2:00 pm CEST

Are companies prepared to handle the converging risks of COVID-19 and climate change? 

 There is now widespread acceptance that climate change presents both physical and transition risks to business and that it represents a systemic risk to financial markets that affects all businesses irrespective of their industry or geography.

This session asks: How has the pandemic changed the risk conversation in the boardroom?  Is COVID-19 accelerating our awareness of the need to be prepared for climate change or could it forestall corporate action?  What measures can drive corporate accountability for addressing systemic societal risks?   

As is customary, background reading will be provided to participants in advance. 

Session 4 - Saturday October 10 5:00 pm CEST

How should boards be addressing Black Lives Matter and broader issues of systemic inequality?

 Whether prompted by their own convictions, experiencing pressure from customers and employees, grappling with new expectations for disclosure, or swayed by repeated studies demonstrating that diversity and inclusion is beneficial and leads to better decision-making; companies are recognizing the need to address systemic inequality and diversify their leadership teams and their boards. But they will need to do more than attract female candidates or those that identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour.  They must also address systemic inequality and foster more inclusive conversations and decision-making processes. 

In this final conversation, we will ask: What is the role for the board in addressing systemic inequality among their own ranks and in their leadership teams? How can they help to establish and reinforce a culture that embraces diverse insights and ensures they are incorporated into corporate decision-making? What can boards do to mentor and champion future directors and future executives from diverse backgrounds? Is it important for boards to make a public commitment to combatting systemic inequities?  Should they be reporting on their progress?

As is customary, background reading will be provided to participants in advance.