À chaque année, le réputé avocat new-yorkais Martin Lipton nous offre sa vision des enjeux de gouvernance pour les mois à venir. Lipton favorise un équilibre entre l'autorité du conseil et les pouvoirs des actionnaires, craignant que l'accroissement de ceux-ci ne nuisent à la création de valeur. L'introduction de Some Thoughts for Board of Directors in 2008 est éloquente:
a key challenge facing boards of directors has emerged with new urgency: the task of promoting long-term value for shareholders in the face of tremendous pressures to realize short-term stock-market gains. These pressures have become acute as hedge funds and other activist shareholders, as well as influential proxy advisory firms, have sought to reshape the landscape in ways that undermine the board-centric model of governance, including their efforts to (a) mandate shareholder referenda on material decisions, including compensation decisions, (b) dilute the ability of companies to defend against hostile takeovers, (c) increase shareholder access to company proxy statements for shareholder-nominated director candidates and other shareholder proposals, (d) influence the membership of boards by means of majority voting proposals and withhold-the-vote campaigns, and (e) circumvent the CEO and exert influence by means of direct lines of communications with directors. As decision-making power shifts from boards to activist shareholders and shareholder advocates, boards are increasingly vulnerable to pressures for short-term share price performance and other agendas.