COVID-19 Crisis: Companies Adopt Emergency Bylaws to Ensure Board Operations
With all of the disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are looking at board and management continuity issues, and some companies have opted to adopt an emergency bylaw to help address these issues. A recent Simpson Thacher memo discusses Section 110 of the DGCL, which allows companies to adopt emergency bylaws and sets forth what may be included in them. Among other things, these bylaws may permit companies to expand the class of persons who may call a board or committee meeting, and relax notice and quorum requirements for such a meeting.
Yesterday, Mastercard filed an Item 5.03 8-K announcing that its board had adopted an emergency bylaw, which provides that:
– a Board or committee meeting may be called by any director or officer by any feasible means, and notice of the meeting may be provided only to the directors that can be feasibly reached and by any feasible means; and
– the director(s) in attendance at the meeting shall constitute a quorum and may appoint one or more of the present directors to any standing or temporary committee as they deem necessary and appropriate
Mastercard isn’t the only company that has adopted an emergency bylaw in recent weeks. John Bean Technologies also adopted a similar provision, and other companies have long had emergency provisions in their own bylaws (see the Jack In The Box filing from 2005). If your bylaws don’t contain an emergency provision, now may be a good time to consider adopting one.
-John Jenkins, TheCorporateCounsel.net April 22, 2020
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