Enerplus Corporation: Assessing the Board Invitation
(6 pages of text)
Enerplus Corporation was a company transitioning from being a buy-and-sell energy trust to one engaged in exploration and exploitation. The company required two new board members and Sue MacKenzie’s name was proposed to the CEO by the Enerplus vice president of corporate services. While MacKenzie was intrigued with the idea, she had never actively considered board service as a career step and she now had a new career direction at the Banff Centre. She undertook a thorough assessment of this board opportunity with attention to the career benefits, personal benefits, potential risks, impact on her personal life, and “match” with her new career. Following a series of meetings, MacKenzie was invited to serve on the board and she now had to make a decision: should she accept or decline the invitation?
This case is suitable for any course in strategy/general management, especially in executive development, second-year MBA or final-year undergraduate business courses. The case addresses the somewhat limited understanding most students have regarding the role and responsibilities of serving on a corporate board and its benefits and risks. The case is a vehicle for discussing the activities of the board of a publicly traded company, including duties and responsibilities, how governance differs from management, board-member selection, potential risks, tangible and intangible benefits, time demands, career steps or personal/volunteer activities to attract a future board appointment, and the concept of board service as a career option. The actions undertaken by Sue MacKenzie to assess the pros and cons of the board invitation may be proposed to students as a model for dealing with both this situation and other major career decisions. The underrepresentation of women on boards is not an element in the case, but still presents an opportunity to inform students about this increasingly important issue. While the context is the oil and gas industry, the issues surrounding this board invitation are common to other industries too.
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
Canada, Large, 2012
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