Pfizer : Opening up corporate governance
Rare exploitation of the web to make corporate governance information easily browsable in depth.
Pfizer, the US-based pharmaceuticals company, has an extensive Corporate Governance area in the For Investors section of the company information on its website. The material is divided into 18 topics ranging from a Corporate Governance Fact Sheet, Principles and Board of Directors to Charters, Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Political Action Committee Report. There is also a set of Frequently Asked Questions and details of how communications to the board can be made and are dealt with.
All the content can be navigated directly from a highlighted sub-menu that opens in the main left-hand bar when Corporate Governance is clicked. It is also presented as HTML web pages, with key documents such as committee charters available additionally as downloadable PDF documents. Where in-text links are provided (to a code of conduct, for example), these go to content within Corporate Governance.
Corporate governance content is a given in the online content mix of publicly-quoted companies, not least because it is a subject they all want to demonstrate they are taking seriously in the aftermath of such corporate accounting scandals as Enron and subsequent legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley in the US. But Pfizer is one of the few big companies that has really embraced and exploited the web to make information both easily browsable and available in depth.
For example, where most will provide the full text of committee charters only in PDF, Pfizer uses the much more user friendly web page as standard, with PDF as a back up; and information has been collected and categorised in a self-contained and self-referencing section so that users are never spirited away from Corporate Governance to another part of the site.
The way Pfizer presents its corporate governance material, and the inclusion of features such as the FAQs and tailored fact sheet, sends out a strong message that its commitment to explaining itself goes well beyond lip service and compliance.http://www.pfizer.com
First published on 08 March, 2007