Governance and Managing Change in the Company of the 21st Century

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Professor Klepper presents various case studies of companies in the context of their corporate governance and the management of change while confronted with a downturn in their business cycle, when their CEOs were coming under pressure to lead the change. Klepper’s core argument is that the CEO’s style needs to be matched to the business at each point in its cycle and that the board needs to intervene actively to help the CEO close any gaps between his/her capabilities/style and the requirement of the company. Because of the changing nature of the business cycle, he states that it is imperative for boards to constantly evaluate their leadership and their strategy. This helps boards and businesses at every stage of the business cycle and can help regulate the relationship between the board and its CEO. Klepper maintains both progress and change are essential for the company of the twenty-first century. To achieve both, the board and CEO must form their social contract of shared values, commitment to stakeholders, risk management, and transparency. This then provides a foundation for addressing the challenges to their strategy and alignment of their business system over time. Boards need to match up the CEO’s agenda, practices and style with what is required to progress in their business cycle.