WASHINGTON, DC, March 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 21,000 directors, today released the NACD March 2020 COVID-19 Pulse Survey, which polled nearly 200 corporate board members to better understand how boards are initially responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. NACD has also launched a publicly available resource center to help directors govern more effectively through these uncertain times.

Several findings stand out:

  • Boards are proactively engaging with management to address the COVID-19 response. Nearly three of four directors (76%) report that their boards have discussed COVID-19 with management. About half (49%) report that they have reviewed internal corporate communications strategies and slightly fewer (42%) have worked to establish expectations for board/management communications. Further, only 45 percent of boards are pressure testing management’s assumptions about the business impact of the virus.

  • Organizations are putting their people first. Many companies have started to rigorously assess the impact of employee and business exposure to the virus (74%). Most have reviewed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance for employers (64%) and have developed internal communications strategies (66%) to keep employees up to date on evolving plans. Further, two-thirds (67%) of directors indicate that at their next board meetings, they intend to evaluate the effectiveness of management’s plans to protect the health and welfare of the employee population.
  • Directors are comfortable with the effectiveness of management’s crisis response at this moment. Directors generally give their organizations high marks for their initial crisis response and collaboration with the board. Seventy-four percent report that their board gets sufficient information from management, and 71 percent find management’s response so far to be effective.
  • Many anticipate a near-term business impact. In the Russell 3000, risk-factor mentions jumped from 29 percent to 39 percent between March 12 and 16, per data from MyLogIQ - Multidimensional Public Company Intelligence. In the NACD poll, most directors saw the largest, likely disruption in the demand for their products (28%), followed by declining employee productivity (19%), breakdown in their supply chain (16%), and a meltdown in the capital markets (14%).

  • Directors are just beginning to focus on the longer-term implications of the crisis. Just 14 percent of respondents report reviewing risk-transfer options that management might have at their disposal, such as insurance coverage on property, supply chains, or business continuity. Thirteen percent report already deciding to postpone a major 2020 investment. Further, 16 percent report discussing post-crisis plans with management. 

The NACD Resource Center, Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis, offers board-relevant guidance to help companies confront COVID-19 and mitigate its business impact. These practical resources are being frequently updated to reflect new developments. Due to a desire to provide the entire governance community with the best available resources to understand the COVID-19 pandemic, NACD has opened the resources to the public. 

About NACD

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) empowers more than 21,000 directors to lead with confidence in the boardroom. As the recognized authority on leading boardroom practices, NACD helps boards strengthen investor trust and public confidence by ensuring that today’s directors are well prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. World-class boards join NACD to elevate performance, gain foresight, and instill confidence. Fostering collaboration among directors, investors, and corporate governance stakeholders, NACD has been setting the standard for responsible board leadership for 40 years. To learn more about NACD, visit

Survey Methodology: NACD used a convenience sample of its membership to solicit 190 member responses between March 6 and March 13, 2020. This contains a wide selection of industries that mirrors the NACD membership and the American economy.

Susan Oliver