A lesson in corporate governance

by Idaho Public Policy, December 9, 2009.

I am privileged to serve on the Board of Directors of two outstanding publicly traded companies that serve customers in the great state of Idaho – Avista Corporation and Idaho Independent Bank.

In October, I was asked by my colleagues at Avista to attend a Board Committee Peer Exchange meeting in New York City.  The purpose of the intense one day session was focused on how directors, especially those that serve on corporate board audit committees (which I do for both companies), can better manage risk – for the company, its shareholders and its customers.  Over 200 directors who serve on audit committees participated from a variety of Fortune 500 companies, such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Chiquita Brands International, American Electric Power Company, Barnes and Noble, Consolidated Edison and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, to name a few.

The 200 directors were subdivided into committees composed of 15 persons representing a cross section of companies from a geographic, industry segment and capitalization standpoint.  The committees spent the entire day discussing topics such as risk management, the current economic environment, and audit committee interactions with other board committees, auditors, regulators, shareholders and management.  At the end of the day, a representative from each committee presented the key points coming out of the discussions to the entire group of directors…(continue reading)

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