Friend or Foe – How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk?

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Oct 01, 2019
by Claire Kidwell
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Friend or Foe – How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk?

Latest program of Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum to explore challenges and opportunities facing directors Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Company directors, lawyers, policymakers, academics, and representatives from key interest groups will gather in Salzburg this week to discuss global challenges facing corporate stewardship.

Around 40 participants will participate in Friend or Foe – How Should Directors Face Disruptive Risk? in the latest program of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum.

This year’s program will take place between October 3 and October 5 at Schloss Leopoldskron - the historic home of Salzburg Global Seminar.

Participants in this program will seek to find the balance between the challenges and opportunities of disruptive risk. They will also explore how corporate directors can achieve resilience and navigate conflicting global forces at work.

"This year’s program starts with a deep examination of corporate duty with regards to today’s (and tomorrow’s) risks on topics ranging from climate, technology, geopolitics, and cybersecurity.  We will look at whether corporate boards are properly constituted to deal with them.  Ultimately, we would like to produce guidelines on how corporate boards might approach foreseeable and unforeseeable risks – and indeed whether some of these challenges may actually represent new opportunities for well-prepared companies," says Charles Ehrlich, the program director.

The program in Salzburg will include breakout discussions to encourage open and free dialogue on these topics and others.

Participants will be encouraged to explore what corporate governance mechanisms directors can use and how directors can step up as arbiters to balance short-term results, long-term perspectives, and good corporate citizenship.

The key questions for the program include:

  • Why are corporations not more effective at taking preventive action to address risk? What corporate governance mechanisms can help focus corporate attention on the next hot spot issues?
  • What practices do successful companies use in the relationship between the board and management? What skills, expertise, and potentially diverse composition do boards require to keep abreast of global trends?
  • How can corporations react quickly enough to fundamental changes in their ecosystem, whether trade or security dynamics, shifting regulatory regimes, disruptive technology or business models, or environmental degradation?
  • When governments fail to lead in meeting society’s needs, should companies or their directors weigh in on critical social and political issues? Does it serve the corporate mission or bottom line?

The group will contain international and intergenerational leaders in their fields, representing a wide range of expertise and specialization. Since its establishment in 2015, the Forum has welcomed participants from 23 countries.


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.