Executive compensation and internal audit compliance issues rank as the top concerns of corporate directors, according to a survey by the Columbia Business School Executive Education Division.

Nearly 40 percent of directors polled identified compensation, while one-third cited compliance with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley as today's key issues in corporate governance, during a poll at the recent Columbia Executive Education course, "Accounting Essentials for Corporate Directors: Enhancing Financial Integrity."

"Director concern over executive compensation and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is unabated. When we surveyed corporate directors six months ago, they cited the same concerns," noted Ethan Hanabury, associate dean of executive education at Columbia Business School.

The directors polled also saw continuity of service as crucial to an effective board, with most opposing term limits for board service, according to Hanabury. However, 30 percent of directors surveyed said that term length shouldn't exceed seven years.

A majority of the respondents (75 percent) believed that corporate directors shouldn't sit on more than four boards, while 45 percent reported that full-time employment should influence the number of boards one sits on.

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