The Wall Street Journal reported recently that shareholder activism which has been a perennial nuisance for chief executives, is now becoming an existential threat. Activists are going beyond just settling for board seats and are waging campaigns that target changes in top management at the outset. So far in 2017, activists have started nine campaigns targeting top management. This is the fastest pace on record according to FactSet.  There has been a trend for activists to go beyond the board changes and push for changes in management and operations. The board changes are merely a means to an end for activists. The end is focused on M&A, balance sheet, and operations. This increased aggressiveness has dramatically increased performance pressure on boards.