New Handbook of Board Governance offers practical advice for business leaders

Richard Leblanc
Richard Leblanc

Administrative Studies Professor Richard Leblanc, from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), delivers expert advice on corporate governance in his new edited collection, The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide for Public, Private, and Not-for-Profit Board Members.

“My book is about governance and accountability from the board of director’s point of view,” said Leblanc, who also serves as director of the Master of Financial Accountability (MFAc) program. “My handbook is a one-stop book for any director or officer serving on any type of board who wants to know thought leadership in a rapidly changing field.”

The book is geared toward corporate directors and is also selling to secretaries, reporting management and advisors to boards.

“I asked all of my contributors to make their chapters as applied and practical as possible, supported by real-world examples,” said Leblanc. “I also asked authors to be critical and forward-looking. If it was not new or leading edge, I did not want it in the book.”

The collection’s authors hail from a variety backgrounds, including profession, gender, ethnicity, age and geographical diversity. They represent eight countries. The youngest author is a 20-year-old Harvard student and the oldest is in his eighties.

Richard LeBlanc

“I tried for a blend of thoughtful practitioners and practical academics. Subject matter experts include governance, activism, strategy, pay, risk, audit, climate and cybersecurity,” said Leblanc. “My book is comprehensive, addressing all oversight functions by a board and board committees, including board composition and leadership, board and CEO succession, management performance, executive pay, director insurance, external and internal audit, financial and non-financial risks, and IT and sustainability governance.”

Leblanc, in addition to editing the handbook, authored two chapters, which address board and individual director independence, competency, behaviour, dynamics and effectiveness. The handbook also addresses assurance and includes chapters that cover governance of family businesses, not-for-profits, private companies, start-ups, the Middle East and Northern Africa.

“I have seen more governance change in the last five years than in the previous 30. Governance change following the financial crisis is very different from the early 2000s. The initiators of change are regulators and activists. Both of these perspectives are in the book and in York’s Master of Financial Accountability program,” said Leblanc. “Just like the master’s program, my book has thoughtful academics balanced with practitioners who are current or past CEOs and practicing directors.”