Your Board Should Be Full of Activists

Your Board Should Be Full of Activists

This is a good time to renew your board before an outside activist tries to change it. Here’s why. The backing of the traditionalists like Vanguard Group is often giving activists like Trian — the latter with just 2.7% of DuPont’s shares — the extra clout they need. Vanguard holds more than $3 trillion in assets, making it the equivalent of the world’s fifth largest country in GDP, ahead of France. Along with its heavyweight brethren like Fidelity and Blackrock, it packs enormous punch. Vanguard owns some 5% of most publicly-traded companies in the U.S., and with half of its fund assets indexed, it is not going anywhere if it does not like its portfolios’ strategies or results. But that does mean indexed investors will remain passive if a company’s strategy could be strengthened or its results could be better.

Whatever the particulars, with the proxy season approaching, this is an opportune moment for the board leader to bring activism home by becoming the board’s own Activist in Chief and for directors to ask the outside-in questions of themselves.





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