Nordic firms are known to have special corporate governance characteristics – including concentrated ownership, two-tier boards, employee representation, low to moderate incentive pay for managers and financial transparency.
“We need to continually asses the strengths and weaknesses of our corporate governance model”, says it’s first Chairman, Professor Tom Berglund. “Moreover, there are also differences, we can learn from. For example, in Finland most firms do not have employee representation on their boards. Careful comparison of performance outcomes produced by existing differences contributes to streamlining of Nordic corporate governance”.
“The rest of the world can also learn from the Norwegian gender quota experience, according to which at least 40% of board members in listed firms must come from each gender”, says Professor Trond Randøy, founding board member from the University of Agder, Norway. “We need to assess whether a gender quota is really a good idea and to consider the issue of board diversity more generally. Is board diversity and advantage or a disadvantage for the competitiveness of Nordic firms?”
“In Sweden, we are concerned about the efficiency of our investments. Dual class shares (A and B shares) may lead to overinvestment in the established firms”, says Professor Per-Olof Bjuggren, Jönköping International Business School, Sweden. “However we also see new entrepreneurial firms such as Google and Facebook having dual class shares, so we also need to be aware of their potential advantages.”
“Foundations play a strong role as owners business companies of both in Denmark and Sweden, for example the A.P. Møller and Novo foundations or the Wallenberg foundations”, says Steen Thomsen, Copenhagen Business School, and the executive director of NCGN. “They appear to be doing quite well, and understanding this unique corporate governance model is very interesting for the outside world.”
The Network consists of leading corporate governance scholars from the Nordic countries and is open to researchers and others with an interest in corporate governance. It plans to hold workshops for Nordic researchers, promote cooperation among Nordic researchers and to make research results more visible in the other Nordic countries – as well as to the rest of the world. “We hope to contribute to a deeper international understanding of the Nordic corporate governance model”, says NCGN Chairman Professor Tom Berglund.