Dec. 18 - 2012 saw shareholders voting down pay deals, Apple pulled up on labour conditions & execs at Starbucks & Amazon grilled over UK tax avoidance. Lucy Marcus rounds up the year in boards.
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This year brought us headlines boards around the world. From Olympus and Japan to FaceBook Yahoo! and HP in Silicon Valley. We saw stories but active annual general meetings executive compensation. The governance of newly public company's diversity in the boardroom and much more. The democratization of information is such that anyone has access to it and also has access to means of spreading it. One way be seen this in 2012 is executive remuneration. AstraZeneca. Barclays bank and shell are just some of the companies that have faced criticism in the past year. With Barkley CEO Bob Diamond ultimately giving up his twenty million pound bonus in the face of public. Feeling a greater sense of connectedness. It shows itself and a variety of ways from the Occupy Movement to the intense interest in the Arab Spring. And then the so called shareholder spring there's a sense that we have a role to play in helping them achieve that I think you're being outspoken or voting with our pocketbooks. The backlash against labor conditions at apple manufactures Foxconn shows people do you actually care about where their goods are made. How they made and -- economy. Fortunate to find it hard to ignore connected consumers. Apple respond to the public anger over Foxconn by agreeing to a labor audit by the fair labor association. It's the first tech company do -- This year Starbucks Amazon and Google have been -- -- committee MPs in the UK. For accounting practices that seem to be legal but have struck people as unsafe and just because you can do it doesn't mean that you should and it's getting harder to get away with it anyway. Parliament accused these companies of an immoral use of the laws to avoid paying UK tax. It crackdown is on her. This year FaceBook hired an executive search firm to look for a woman to add to its board of directors. That's search and with the appointment of Sheryl Sandberg. But it also highlighted problems at sounding boards with limited diversity face. It's not about diversity for diversity say. As business becomes ever more globalized. Boards need to keep their fingers on the pulse of new cultures new markets and technologies to make a profit. In Europe the quoted debate has moved on with the EU voting to make it law that 40% of company board members being women by 20/20. When I spoke to European commissioner -- reading this year she told me -- don't like quotas but I like what they do. And this is discussion that is happening around the world. Exist in a truly global marketplace. As markets and African countries and China grow. Companies are increasingly looking to sell their products in the same place their manufacturing. For many consumers. Issues about labor rights and environmental impact will be close to home. -- -- Many of the stories last year were negative and here's hoping 2013 we'll bring some positive stories of bravery and integrity. And independence of -- deep. I look forward to bringing into you here on in the boardrooms to us.
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