Friend or Foe: How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk?

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Nov 29, 2019
by Louise Hallman
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Friend or Foe: How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk?

Report from the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum offers insights and guidance on how corporate directors can understand and respond to emerging risks

In today’s tumultuous world, corporations face conflicting and unsettling forces. Geopolitics collide with economics, new competitors disrupt industries, and the changing nature of shareholders challenges traditional concepts of corporate stewardship. Looking forward, directors need the right skills and tools to improve risk literacy and resilience of their companies.

The Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum – through its fifth annual program, Friend or Foe: How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk? – sought to address some of these challenges. Bringing perspectives and experience spanning 13 countries, an international and intergenerational cohort of 35 company directors, lawyers, policymakers, investors, academics, and representatives of key civil society interest groups explored how directors can identify both the challenges and opportunities of disruptive risk, achieve resilience, and navigate an increasingly complicated landscape.

Critical Thinking

The Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum was launched in 2015 to enable critical thinking and discussion on the changing roles and responsibilities of directors across jurisdictions and cultures.

This new report – Friend or Foe: How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk? – aims to capture those discussions and share them beyond the candid yet closed discussions of Schloss Leopoldskron and the Corporate Governance Forum. 

Authored by Kayla Winarsky Green, adviser in the Human Rights and Business department of the Danish Institute for Human Rights and with contributions from Melissa Obegi, Asia general counsel for Bain Capital, based in Hong Kong; Stephanie Bertels, director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability at the Beedie School of Business of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada; and Robert H. Mundheim, of counsel to Shearman & Sterling LLP, the report includes recommendations, takeaways, and questions focused on three key areas:

  1. Understanding Emerging Disruptive Risk
  2. Constructing a Modern Board
  3. Exploring the Shifting Role of the Corporation

Throughout the report, readers can find helpful breakout boxes offering guidance on such topics as Guiding Questions for Managing Disruptive Risks, Indicators of a Coming Scandal, Responses to Risk Indicators, and Skills or Characteristics to Consider for a Diverse Board.

Accompanying the report are a selection of articles written by Fellows of the Corporate Governance Forum for the monthly series The Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance.

The report is now available to download, read and share:

Download the report as a PDF


The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Friend or Foe: How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk? is part of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum annual program. The program is held in partnership with the CLP Group and supported by Barclays, BNY Mellon, and Elliott.