As 2024 gets off to a busy start, companies, boards and management teams are facing a host of new and developing business issues and a large array of regulatory developments, from new and growing risks and opportunities from the adoption of artificial intelligence, to ever-changing ESG issues and backlash, as well as enhanced focus on government enforcement and review. As has become a tradition, we have asked our colleagues from around our firm to boil down those issues in their fields that boards of directors and senior management of public companies will be facing in the coming year, yielding focused updates in eighteen topics that will surely feature at the top of board agendas throughout the year.
New technologies and practices driven by AI have created fundamental business risks and opportunities that will define how businesses function in the coming decades. At the same time, the concerns and practices of public companies are evolving rapidly, driven in part by economic and societal forces accelerating the discussions and regulation around sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion, among other factors. Companies face new disclosure requirements around cybersecurity and executive compensation at the same time as they are navigating the changing expectations on the part of politicians, regulators, institutional investors and other stakeholders. With the shifting landscape, companies are revisiting their thinking on everything from business fundamentals and how to manage liabilities and risk to corporate governance and an evolving understanding of board and management duties.
We explore these evolutions from several different angles with respect to AI, ESG, transaction activity and shareholder and activist engagements. Other topics stem from the agendas of regulators. 2023 was a notable year for developments in US tax, antitrust, sanctions, cybersecurity and privacy, labor and enforcement agency agendas. As we gear up for an election year in the United States, Congress remains mired in political skirmishes, and we expect the fast pace of regulatory rulemaking from 2023 to continue in the early part of 2024. European regulatory developments are continuing to drive board agendas as well, in areas like tax, competition and sustainability. In all of these areas, enforcement risk is on the rise and board oversight and thoughtful considerations of board structure are more critical than ever.