Wanted: 50 Exemplary Directors, And More

March 6th, 2015 | By

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The NACD Directorship 100 is the preeminent annual list of the most influential people in the boardroom and corporate governance and we are calling on all public company directors and NACD members to tell us who you think deserves recognition. Online nominations are being accepted until 5 p.m. EST on March 31, 2015. You don’t have to be a director in order to participate. Sending a nomination takes only a few seconds and you can nominate as many individuals as you think worthy.

From its inception in 2007, the objective of the NACD Directorship 100 has been to elevate the directorship role by profiling exemplary directors and the governance institutions and related professionals who influence board agendas. There are three categories of recognition within the NACD Directorship 100 leadership awards:

  1. The B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award
  2. The NACD Director of the Year
  3. The NACD Directorship 100, which encompasses three sub-categories:
        • The NACD Corporate Governance Hall of Fame
        • Directors
        • Governance Professionals

The B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award honors a single individual who has served on a public company board in a leadership capacity, such as board chair, lead director, or committee chair, or has been a leader in a corporate governance capacity. In 2014, we honored former Delta Chair Paula Rosput Reynolds. To be considered in this category, nominees are required to have additional documentation, including testimonial letters from colleagues or peers. The full selection criteria are available here.

The NACD Director of the Year is a director in a board leadership capacity on a public, private, and/or not-for-profit company. The 2014 recipient of this award was former Lone Star Chair and CEO Rhys J. Best. To be considered in this category, nominees are required to have additional documentation, including testimonial letters from colleagues or peers. The full selection criteria are available here.

The NACD Directorship 100 Corporate Governance Hall of Fame recognizes three to five individuals who are or have been a director in a board leadership capacity or a leader within an organization influencing corporate governance. These individuals are widely recognized and acknowledged by their peers as having made an indelible and lasting contribution to the field of corporate governance as demonstrated by their exemplary, ethical service on either their boards or for the governance organizations they serve.

Since its inception in 2008, the NACD Corporate Governance Hall of Fame now counts among its honorees such legendary corporate officers as Vanguard Founder John Bogle, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, Young & Rubicam’s Ann Fudge, and GE’s Jack Welch in addition to legal titans H. Rodgin Cohen, William B. Chandler, Martin Lipton, and Ira Millstein. In 2014, we inducted three governance luminaries: Catalyst’s Ilene Lang, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and NACD chair emeritus Barbara Hackman Franklin, and the Honorable Myron T. Steele.

The NACD Directorship 100 recognizes a unique class of 50 outstanding directors currently serving in a public company board leadership capacity. Nominees must possess a sound ethical compass, be involved in board-related issues and activities outside of the boards on which they sit, and serve as models for their director peers. Nominees who have been honored in the director category in previous years are not eligible for consideration. Our evaluation process ensures a unique class of directors each year.

NACD Directorship 100 Governance Professionals are leaders representing no more than 50 organizations from relevant and related corporate governance advisory fields, encompassing attorneys, compensation consultants, audit firms, recruiters, investors, journalists, and policy advisers.  Individuals nominated in the governance professional category must demonstrate exemplary, ethical service for their organizations, support NACD’s mission, and engage outside of their companies to train others on what constitutes good governance practices.

Nominees in all categories will be vetted by NACD Directorship editors then submitted to NACD’s board of directors for endorsement.

The full 2015 NACD Directorship 100 list will be published in the November/December issue of NACD Directorship magazine. Honorees will be notified in advance. In addition, directors and professional stakeholders will convene to celebrate this year’s honorees at a black-tie gala event to be held on December 2, 2015 at Gotham Hall in New York City. This exclusive invitation-only event will be a prime opportunity to meet your peers in the director and governance communities and to raise a glass to outstanding achievement.

Questions about the nomination process for Director of the Year and the B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award should be directed to Chris Barnard at pcbarnard@NACDonline.org.

All other questions may be directed to me, NACD Directorship Editor in Chief Judy Warner, at jwarner@NACDonline.org.

Along with everyone here at NACD, I’m looking forward to receiving your nominations and to taking yet another opportunity to celebrate the unwavering stewards of American business.

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Diversity in the Boardroom: The Importance of Change

February 23rd, 2015 | By

For years, boards have discussed diversity but little action has been taken. Demographic shifts and the continuing focus on global competitiveness point to change on the horizon.  While it won’t happen tomorrow, all signs point to increasing diversity within the next few decades — when the current millennials are in their 50s, the boardroom will be much more racially diverse.

I recently addressed two highly engaged groups in Washington, D.C., and the attendees reflected very similar attributes and a common aspiration — a desire to gain their first board seat. My advice for gaining that first board seat was clear. It’s all about who — and what — you know.

The first group I met with was from Ascend, and the second group was from Women in the Boardroom. While the composition and mission of the latter is evident, the former may be new to you. Ascend is an association consisting of nearly 50,000 Pan-Asian leaders who are passionate about ascending the highest ranks of business. I spoke during Ascend’s recent global conference of more than 2,500 people.

NACD believes diversity is a global business imperative. I mentioned during my talks that NACD has been a champion of diversity in the boardroom for more than 37 years, dedicating content, events and actions to the issue. Further, we don’t define boardroom diversity as being simply about color or gender. It’s about diversity of thought, perspectives and experience – from a cognitive perspective.  Ideally, the skills, experiences and perspectives of a company’s directors should reflect those required to proactively oversee the company’s strategy.

For more information about NACD’s positon on diversity in the boardroom, please read our Blue Ribbon Commission Report here.

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“Full Range” Reading: 25+ NACD Deep Dives for 2015

February 5th, 2015 | By

Have you resolved to become even more proactive and knowledgeable as a director in 2015? I commend you!  As Dr. Reatha Clark King says in the annual Chairman’s letter, which appears in the January-February 2015 issue of NACD Directorship,

[S]trong boards should work with management to stay abreast of the full range of matters that may affect the success of companies. Today the emergence of significant issues on relatively short notice requires both management and boards to adapt more quickly.

To keep you current the first items on your reading list should surely be Directors Daily, NACD Directorship magazine, and the white papers and other timely content that flows from our Advisory Councils, NACD Directorship 2020® events, and many other educational programs.

But in addition to consulting these resources, consider making time for some of our deeper-dive publications, which provide extensive data and comprehensive guidance on key boardroom issues, both perennial and emerging. To help you locate the material that will be of most interest to you, here is a quick (at-a-glance) “catalog” of the most popular and most topical publications on the NACD bookshelves.

NACD’S ANNUAL SURVEYS. These studies cover governance trends among public, private, and nonprofit boards, as well as public-company director compensation. The facts and figures clearly presented here in charts, tables, and graphs—along with nuanced interpretation of the data collected—will enable you to benchmark your board’s practices against your peers’, no matter what size or type of organization you govern.

For more than 20 years, NACD has been tracking governance trends by industry and company size, from multibillion-dollar firms to those with under $50 million in revenues. Topics analyzed include board size, director hours, board priorities, committee variety, and specific practices for the oversight of risk and for CEO succession, to name just a few. While other fine organizations now support the effort to research board practices, NACD surveys are unparalleled in the scope of their topics and the size of respondent pools they cover.

BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION REPORTS. Our widely respected series of Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) reports is required reading for directors who want to increase their mastery of the many issues facing them. Every year, NACD invites a new and select group of prominent board leaders and subject-matter experts to gather for dialogue about an emerging issue. Chaired by well-known leaders in the business or legal community, the commissions produce authoritative reports that have been cited in legal cases (notably Brehm v. Eisner, 2000) and have even been called “prophetic” by Delaware Supreme Court Justice Jack Jacobs, speaking at the University of Delaware. The following links lead to the most recent editions of 13 of these unique and eminently useful reports.

HANDBOOKS. Last but not least, for a firmer grasp of director duties, you may wish to consider one or more of NACD’s definitive handbooks, which are authored by experts and focus on the “how to” of directorship.

And, coming soon, The Family Business Board, Vol. 2!

Happy reading!

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