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Baker Botts Hosts Successful First Board of Directors Forum in Houston, TX

HOUSTON, February 6, 2018 – On January 31st, a group of pre-eminent speakers drawn from some of the most distinguished boards and leading financial and service firms joined Baker Botts partners for the first Baker Botts Board of Directors’ Forum which was followed by a presentation over lunch by former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III. In a half-day session held in Houston before an audience of public and private company directors and senior officers, the forum covered a number of topics geared toward assisting corporate directors to employ and adopt best practices amid growing challenges of corporate governance this year.

The panels covered best practices in M&A and crisis communications, the challenges posed by shareholder activism and the strategic responses, insurance coverage issues and disputes, and the heightened importance of diversity in today’s boardroom.

To kick-off the event, the M&A panel spoke in great detail about the experience and course of events when a well-known and material insider of a public company looks to take it private and the importance of process in that context. The group also examined the latest trends in post-M&A litigation including the reduced willingness of the Delaware courts to entertain shareholder suits that follow big deals. In the Crisis Management and Corporate Communications segment, our second panel discussed the impact of social media on crisis communications, the importance of understanding the “tipping point” in a crisis, and the significance of knowing your primary audience when responding to a crisis. Finally, this panel emphasized the importance of Board members being proactive in accurately assessing the health of a company’s culture to protect its brand, reputation and value if and when a crisis hits.

The program’s third group of speakers provided insight into addressing shareholder activism from the perspective of a target company’s board, outside counsel and advisors. Acknowledging that activism has become an accepted means of shareholder involvement that is increasingly supported by institutional investors, this panel stressed the importance of engagement and noted the higher degree of scrutiny that boards now face when confronted by activist investors and their supporters who demand greater accountability. In the insurance discussion, our speakers reviewed the role of the board in overseeing critical aspects of a company’s business. The speakers covered the board’s oversight duties in the context of issues ranging from preventing sexual harassment in the workplace to protecting against security breaches and mitigating losses in connection with natural disasters. Finally, the program’s diversity panel walked the audience through the growing importance of gender and ethnic diversity, as well as age diversity given the need to understand a company’s customers, clients and users. This group of speakers also noted that diversity can be enhanced through a focus on skills and functional experience which can broaden the pool of applicants beyond those with just industry experience when a board looks to achieve diversity goals. The panelists reminded all present that board diversity sets an organization’s tone and support for diversity and inclusion throughout that organization.

To view the event agenda, please click here.

To schedule an interview with a Baker Botts partner on a topic seen above, please contact Sheena Cochran at 713.229.1964.


Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 650 lawyers practicing throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology, and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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