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Governance Workshop


June 29, 2016 5:30-8:30pm
Pillsbury Law Firm
Four Embarcadero Center 22nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Get an A+ From Activists

“A is for Activist”. As executives and directors, we know this. Still, how can we get an “A+” grade from activists so they won’t throw rotten apples at us?

Make no mistake – whether you are in a private or public company --investors are watching.They have opinions and want to be heard as much as they want to hear clearly articulated plans from executives which will hold them as long term investors. Some people imagine their exposure differs, depending on your company profile, e.g., dynamic versus slow industries; private equity vs. VC funded, public vs. private. They assume private companies have more control on this than public ones.

The opposite is true: each company type runs exposure to shareholder consternation, liability and impact of their wish to be heard.

Facts About the Activist Landscape:

  • Activist assets under management grew from $12 billion to $112 billion from 2003-2014.
  • 35% of micro-cap companies had activists approach them in a 12 month period beginning in 2014.
  • In 2015, grants of 117 board seats to activists and 10 by vote is a jump from 61 granted and 8 won in 2010.
  • Financial and healthcare sectors were most targeted in 2015.

How can executives and directors manage their business and create the value investors seek and avoid the consternation of activists? That is a board responsibility. Yet, how can directors address it? Too often, attention to this doesn’t become clear until after the “bad thing” happens.

Join us to learn and discuss this important hot topic. You will learn:

  • The main four main types of activists, based on their strategic motivations;
  • How different types of investors value your company;
  • Determine your company’s vulnerabilities to activist challenges and how to correct them’
  • How to create and communicate the value in terms the investors seek;
  • How to strengthen decision-making and data as a guide to ask and evaluate questions;
  • Steps to take to monitor for early warning signs;
  • Sound practices to use to prevent activists from sneaking up on you

This is an interactive format, so please bring your experiences and questions and join in on the hearty discussion!


Brian Barnier is a Boardwise strategic partner focusessed on corporate strategies for sustainable global growth. He serves as co-chair of the ICGN Corporate Risk Oversight Committee and Board Advisor of the Retirement Income Industry Association. He served on the teams that created ISACA’s Risk IT and COBIT guidance for managing cyber risk. He is editor of and authored The Operational Risk Handbook (Harriman House, Great Britain, 2011). He interviews and writes widely, including from floor of NYSE, NASDAQ Market Site, The Street, WSJ and FT publications, CNBC, Bloomberg Brief and more. He is the research director at London-based Burnt Oak Capital. Understanding technology’s role in sustainable growth, he led teams to 9 patents and is a faculty member of NASA-partner Singularity University.

From an investor perspective, his emphasis is on Business Model Investing and the “fundamental farm” underlying factor investing. From an issuer perspective, he creates signature strengths in situational awareness, strategy, product management and business-IT management. His emphasis is on the difficult art of implementing better management practice. In both, he creates platforms for repeatable growth. He serves on a range of private company and non-profit boards. Previously, he led initiatives for IBM, Lucent and Ameritech (now AT&T). offers its HOT TOPICS IN GOVERNANCE series to ensure directors and professionals interested in governance stay current on key issues in corporate governance. All professionals are welcome.

5:30 – 6:15 : Registration, Networking and Beverages
6:15 – 8:15: Workshop
8:15 – 8:30: Q&A and Upcoming Events


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