Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


Posts by Angela Rodenhauser

Improving your proxy statement’s reader experience

Proxy statements have emerged as a key channel for telling a company’s story to shareholders and are a valuable tool for management and Boards. And proxies continue to become more robust – getting longer with more detailed disclosure; and the inclusion of infographics, charts and checklists are making key information more scannable and prominent. 

Content and design improvements are also being made to the shareholder letter, table of contents, company overview, and the proxy summary. Seventy-nine percent of companies included a proxy summary in 2016 (up from 39% in 2012) and 77% used color in their CD&As (up from 48% in 2012) based on Equilar’s 2017 Innovations in Proxy Design study, which examined proxies from the S&P 100. Companies are also increasing their use…

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Communicating a CEO transition in your annual report – 5 real-world examples

Last year, more than 10% of companies on the S&P 500 Index named a new chief executive officer. That’s according to executive search and leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart’s 2015 CEO Transitions report. In addition, according to PWC’s 2015 CEO Success study, CEO turnover at the 2,500 largest companies in the world rose from 14.3% in 2014 to 16.6% in 2015.

Reasons for a CEO’s departure vary – some are the result of long-term succession planning, while others may be sudden or even unexpected due to company performance, personal decisions or a merger/split of the company. Given the array of circumstances, how these transitions are addressed in a company’s annual report also varies.  

A leadership transition can be an uncertain time for investors, and the…

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Strong themes abound in annual reports

From differentiation to discipline, consistency to partnership, the most recent annual report season featured a variety of strong themes as companies endeavored to tell their stories in new and compelling ways. Here are a few notable examples:


A flexible set of colors and design elements has helped Sherwin-Williams present a consistent brand identity from year to year.  Distinctive colors and photography highlight the company’s four reportable segments throughout each report, as well as the company overview and geographic reach map. As a result, the three latest reports have an impactful, consistent style that reflects the company’s leadership and strong financial performance in the paints and coatings industry.

Fairmount Santrol – Defining…

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Six strategies for a successful (and smoother) annual report process

Even in today’s world of instant information, the annual report remains a powerful tool that continues to provide a great opportunity to communicate with key stakeholders. With the 2013 annual report season still fresh in our minds, here are a few strategies to remember when planning for next year’s annual report season:

1) Develop a schedule

The time it takes to put together an annual report ranges greatly depending on the company – from six weeks for some to six months for others. In any case, it is important that everyone on the team understands key dates and deadlines to ensure a smooth process. This includes any major timing implications such as Notice & Access (in which the “Notice Only” option requires an accelerated timeline to complete your filings).…

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