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Corporate Directors' Economic Optimism Rebounds in Q1 2013

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Corporate directors' confidence during the first quarter of 2013 reached a level (61.0) that has not been seen since the second quarter of 2011, according to survey data from the National Association of Corporate Directors' Board Confidence Index (BCI). Additionally, thirty-six percent more companies expect to hire employees in the second quarter of the year, up from a significantly lower projection in the previous quarter.

Whether this optimism will endure over the next three quarters is uncertain. Data from the NACD BCI notes that as the year progresses, directors' confidence in the economy typically tends to drop. However, this year, boards expect to buck this trend, scoring economic confidence for the year ahead at a higher than average 65. Taking a short-term look at the second quarter of 2013, directors retained a positive outlook with a score of 57.

Now in its third year, the NACD BCI offers a view of the state of the economy from the boardroom's perspective, based on five key indicators. Each quarter, directors from public companies are surveyed on the state of the economy. Scores above 50 are positive about the state of the economy, scores around 50 are uncertain and those below 50 are negative. For detailed metrics, methodology and historical data from the BCI, visit www.NACDonline.org/BCI.

"While regulatory and legislative issues continue to dominate the headlines, directors have demonstrated a consistent confidence in the marketplace," said Ken Daly, president and CEO of NACD. "That confidence helps fuel the job creation predictions indicated by the first quarter NACD BCI statistics."

Companies may be looking to hire, but some are struggling with recruiting and retaining talent. Directors noted their top two obstacles to attracting and retaining talent were competitive compensation pressures and a lack of qualified candidates, according to the NACD BCI. Asked about the biggest factors driving their executive pay decision-making, survey respondents put company business strategy and competitive market factors at the top of the list, and say-on-pay outcomes and advisory firm program standards last.

"We're seeing the start of a shift in priorities back to basics," said David N. Swinford, president and CEO of Pearl Meyer & Partners. "Directors are becoming more comfortable with say on pay and other governance requirements, and are refocusing on their primary task—driving value creation through differentiated business strategies with well-built management teams, effectively rewarded for achieving corporate goals."

About NACD

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is the only membership organization focused exclusively on advancing exemplary board leadership. Based on more than 35 years of experience, NACD identifies, interprets and provides insights and information that corporate board members rely upon to make sound strategic decisions, confidently confront complex business challenges and enhance shareowner value. With more than 13,000 corporate director members, NACD provides world-class director education, director training and proprietary research about leading boardroom and corporate governance practices to promote director professionalism and bolster investor confidence. Furthermore, to create more effective and efficient corporate boards, NACD provides independent board evaluations and custom-tailored in-boardroom education and training programs, as well as director-led conferences, forums and peer-exchange learning opportunities to share ideas about current and emerging issues. Fostering collaboration among directors and governance stakeholders, NACD is shaping the future of board leadership. To learn more about NACD, visit www.NACDonline.org. To join, please contact Kelly Dodd at kkdodd@NACDonline.org or 202-380-1891.

About Pearl Meyer & Partners

For more than 20 years, Pearl Meyer & Partners (www.pearlmeyer.com) has served as a trusted independent advisor to Boards and their senior management in the areas of compensation governance, strategy and program design. The firm provides comprehensive solutions to complex compensation challenges for companies ranging from the Fortune 500 to not-for-profits as well as emerging high-growth companies. These organizations rely on Pearl Meyer & Partners to develop programs that align rewards with long-term business goals to create value for all stakeholders: shareholders, executives, and employees. The firm maintains offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, as well as London.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Henry Stoever Chief Marketing Officer 202-775-0509 hstoever@NACDonline.orgSource:National Association of Corporate Directors