The primary role of GE's Board of Directors is to oversee how management serves the interests of shareowners and other stakeholders. To do this, GE's Directors have adopted corporate governance principles aimed at ensuring that the Board is independent and fully informed on the key risks and strategic issues facing GE. GE has met its goal to have two-thirds of its Board be independent under a strict definition of independence. Today, 17 of GE's 18 Directors are independent.
The GE Board held 14 meetings in 2013, including three meetings of the non-management directors of the Board. Each outside Board member is expected to visit at least two GE businesses without the involvement of corporate management in order to develop his or her own feel for the Company. Board members focus on the areas that are important to shareowners – strategy, risk management, leadership development, and regulatory and compliance matters. In 2013, they received briefings on a variety of issues, including capital allocation and business development, risk management with a focus on GE Capital, business simplification, GE Customer Opinion Surveys, leadership development, technology excellence, IT and cyber security, global research and development strategy, industrial internet initiatives and GE’s branding, marketing and operating initiatives. At the end of the year, the Board and each of its committees conducted a thorough self-evaluation.