The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

As 2023 concludes, economic indicators remain mixed on whether there will be a recession or a soft landing over the next year.  Either way, it is likely that a significant number of companies, across industries, will need to restructure their financial debt and operations.  2023 brought a significant increase in chapter 11 filings, with a 61% percent increase compared to the same period in 2022, and filings across industries, including such notable companies as Bed Bath & Beyond, Envision Healthcare, Rite Aid and WeWork.  Other companies have avoided formal bankruptcy filings by undertaking liability management transactions that increase near-term liquidity through additional borrowings.  However, as several high profile filings this year have shown, it is likely that many of these transactions may simply delay, rather than prevent, bankruptcy filings in the future.Continue Reading One Step Ahead: Restructuring Considerations in an Uncertain Economic Climate

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

After several years during which the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) had been hotly discussed and anticipated, 2023 saw not only the entry into force of the CSRD itself, but also the adoption and publication of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (the ESRS).Continue Reading Sustainability Reporting

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Companies have identified that the voluntary carbon markets may play an important role in contributing to a reduction in their net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and, therefore, in meeting their GHG emissions reduction goals.  However, they have also exercised caution in embracing the voluntary carbon markets due to complicated standards, carbon credit quality issues and lack of market and pricing transparency.  Since 2020, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has shown an increasing interest in regulating the voluntary carbon markets, and this interest has culminated in significant developments in 2023, including the Whistleblower Alert, establishment of its Environmental Fraud Task Force, the Second Voluntary Carbon Markets Convening and now the Proposed Guidance Regarding the Listing of Voluntary Carbon Credit Derivative Contracts.  These CFTC initiatives have the potential to address some of the well-known challenges in the voluntary carbon markets, which may lead to a healthier and more robust market.  We begin with a brief overview of the voluntary carbon markets before discussing the CFTC’s recent actions in this area.Continue Reading Voluntary Carbon Markets: Is It the CFTC’s Time to Shine?

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), and in particular, generative AI, will continue to be an issue in the year to come, as new laws and regulations, agency guidance, continuing and additional litigation on AI and new AI-related partnerships will prompt headlines and require companies to continually think about these issues.Continue Reading Generative AI Will Stay Top of Mind in 2024

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

The M&A Environment in 2024

Global deal value in 2023 fell to the lowest level seen in a decade. It was the first year since 2013 that the M&A market failed to hit the $3 trillion value mark, with continued reduced deal activity from private equity firms, which spent 36% less on acquisitions than in 2022. For boards and management teams pondering the M&A environment in 2024, a complex mix of macroeconomic, geopolitical and sector-specific headwinds and tailwinds make prognostication difficult.Continue Reading Outlook for M&A and Shareholder Activism in 2024

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

In July 2023, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted final rules to enhance and standardize disclosure requirements related to cybersecurity.  In order to comply with the new reporting requirements of the rules, companies will need to make ongoing materiality determinations with respect to cybersecurity incidents and series of related incidents.  The inherent nature of cybersecurity incidents, which are often initially characterized by a high degree of uncertainty around scope and impact, and an SEC that is laser-focused on cybersecurity from both a disclosure and enforcement perspective, combine to present registrants and their boards of directors with a novel set of challenges heading into 2024.Continue Reading Crossing a New Threshold for Material Cybersecurity Incident Reporting

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Executive compensation issues may not have been the predominant focus for boards of directors in 2023 given the enhanced attention to antitrust, diversity and climate reporting matters, among others. However, there have been several notable developments in executive compensation that boards should be mindful of in 2024. We discuss these developments below.Continue Reading A New Season for Executive Compensation Disclosure

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.Continue Reading Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Artificial intelligence (AI) was the biggest technology news of 2023. AI continues to revolutionize business in big and small ways, ranging from disrupting entire business models to making basic support functions more efficient. Observers have rightly focused on the plentiful value-creation opportunities this new technology affords. Less attention has been given to the risks AI creates for boards and management teams, which call for sophisticated governance, operational and risk perspectives. This article identifies key areas of risk and offers suggestions for mitigation on the road to realizing the enormous benefits AI promises.Continue Reading AI May Do Wonders for Your Business, But What About Your Risk Profile?

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina’s admissions programs, which considered candidates’ race in admission decisions, violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  While these decisions, known collectively as SFFA, do not apply to a corporation’s employment decisions, language in the Court’s opinion has led many to speculate as to how the precedent could potentially be expanded to this context.  The Court’s majority noted that the language of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which, broadly speaking, bars discrimination in employment decisions, is almost identical to corresponding language in Title VI.  Notably, in writing a concurrence joined by Justice Thomas, Justice Gorsuch observed that Title VII is “[j]ust next door” to Title VI, and noted that the majority opinion tracks the Supreme Court’s prior rulings interpreting “materially identical language in Title VII,” prompting Justice Gorsuch to ask rhetorically whether it makes sense to “read the same words in neighboring provisions of the same statute—enacted at the same time by the same Congress—to mean different things?” Continue Reading How Boards Should Be Thinking about the Supreme Court’s SFFA Affirmative Action Decision