Ever wonder how your board stacks up against S&P 1,500 companies in the emerging corporate governance trends?

RiskMetrics Group (“RMG”) has recently completed is review of the proxy statements for annual meetings of these SP 1,500 companies. Its results, illustrate the board structure and characteristics of individual directors at S&P 1,500 companies based on RMG’s analysis of their proxy statements for annual meetings between July 1, 2007, and June 30,2008.

Some highlights of RMG’s findings reveal an uptick in several of the major trends, including:

  • The average board independence level rose to 78% in 2008 from 74% in 2007;
  • U.S. companies continued to separate the positions of CEO and Chairperson where 46% of the companies had separate individuals serving as chairperson and CEO up 21 points from 2000;
  • The number of companies disclosing a committee with formal authority/responsibility for succession planning reached 88% which is double the amount from 2006 and a 60 point increase from 2001; and
  • Director diversity showed a modest increase.

RMG’s Issues Report can be accessed at: http://www.riskmetrics.com/sites/default/files/BP2009.pdf