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Jun 05, 2024

Making your board assessment program a success

JLL’s Seth Gastwirth talks about how to design and make the most of assessments and how to plan a submission to this year’s Corporate Governance Awards

Board assessments are an essential part of governance work and key to making sure directors can function well as individuals and as a team. In this episode of the Governance Matters podcast from Governance Intelligence, we hear from Seth Gastwirth, deputy general counsel and assistant corporate secretary at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), about why board assessments are so important, how they can best be designed and how the results can be used to improve performance.

Gastwirth explains that board assessments are ‘critical in looking at… continuous improvement across an organization. [They allow] a company to identify areas where [it] can do better in terms of its operation and also in terms of its overall governance structure.’

He observes: ‘The opportunity in getting it right is you learn a lot of very valuable and useful information. You’ll learn about opportunities where the board wants to receive additional information, get additional insights from company management and also opportunities for the board to provide additional feedback to the company.

‘The risks in terms of getting it wrong is that the board doesn’t perhaps have great visibility into key areas of risk or governance across an organization, may not be focused on the most important areas for a company currently and may be stuck in the past.’

Gastwirth explains the framework for JLL’s annual board assessment, which takes on a different format in alternating years, and how it evolves over time. He also explains some of the key outcomes from the process and how they can help the board, including in terms of director education – a topic you can access detailed research on by clicking here – and board refreshment.

‘We look at the skills and the qualifications of each of our board members on an annual basis, and then look at the overall composition of the board and where the company is in terms of its strategy and growth to determine whether we have… the right types of representation and experience levels to address the types of issues that our company is experiencing today and looking at the direction of our company going forward,’ Gastwirth says.

JLL took home the prize for best board assessment program at last year’s Corporate Governance Awards and, in this episode, Gastwirth offers helpful advice on how companies can approach putting together their submission/s for this year’s awards. Those are due by July 26 and more details about submissions and the gala event in November when the winners will be announced can be found here.

Seth Gastwirth - JLL LINKEDIN JUNE 4 2024
Seth Gastwirth

The Governance Matters podcast provides listeners with insight into cutting-edge issues of the day for corporate secretaries, general counsel and other governance professionals. The series looks at how the roles of governance professionals and the board – as well as the landscape in which they operate – are evolving.

From ESG and entity management to shareholder engagement, regulation and technology, hear from governance experts and leading advisers about the latest public company governance matters.

Click to listen and subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify and Acast.

Ben Maiden

Ben Maiden is the editor-at-large of Governance Intelligence, an IR Media publication, having joined the company in December 2016. He is based in New York. Ben was previously managing editor of Compliance Reporter, covering regulatory and compliance...