Field Trip to the Future: NACD Visits the Consumer Electronics Show

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2011, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer providing the keynote on the evening of January 5. This year one tech-savvy director is offering to give NACD members a special tour, introducing them to the gadgets, apps and game-changers that will shape the future of business—and the boardroom process.The show is open to all and is a mecca for those who want to see, touch and understand tomorrow’s must-haves. More than 130,000 people are estimated to attend, and speakers this year include Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler and Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally talking about the future of electric vehicles, among other things. If you want to try out some home appliances that could revolutionize life for your customers, and get your hands on communication tools that will make your BlackBerry or iPhone look like a Filofax (remember those?), then join Carolyn Chin for a guided tour of the near future.

NACD FL Chapter President Carolyn Chin

NACD FL Chapter President Carolyn Chin

Carolyn Chin, NACD Florida Chapter president, has been attending the show for 30 years. “It’s the single best event for a core dump on technology, and since it is for consumers, anyone can understand,” says the founder and former general manager of e-commerce services for IBM. “Apart from the introduction to the latest innovations, it is worth it for the people you bump into. I was nearly run over by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos the year the show first featured the Segway.”


Carolyn is chairman of the board and CEO of Health Wellness Solutions, a developer and marketer of new pain and brain/memory enhancement products. She also serves on the State Farm Bank board. “I would be glad to help NACD members identify the best sessions and do a walkabout tour,” says Carolyn, who took part in one of the packed technology sessions at the recent NACD conference. Directors can’t afford to leave this stuff to the IT guy or gal—we all need to know the way the world is changing and to access the products that will not only matter to our companies’ customers but which can make our own business and board work easier. Admission to the show is only $100 if you sign up before December 31.”

If you would like to join an NACD tour of the Consumer Electronics Show, contact us here. Please note that, while there will be no charge to take a tour with Carolyn, attendees will be responsible for their own travel, accommodations and registration fees.

The 2010 Director of the Year Awards – Celebrating Boardroom Heroes

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Opening the 2010 NACD Director of the Year Awards celebration by honoring attendees for their integrity, good work, and courage to strive for corporate governance excellence, Mary Pat McCarthy, of KPMG, the Crystal Sponsor for the dinner banquet Saturday night, added, “In this room, we all know guiding a ship in tough seas is never easy; but with these [three Director of the Year Award honorees], it’s easier because we have [the Awardees]—some of the brightest beams—to light our way.”

NACD 2010 Director of the Year Award Winners

NACD 2010 Director of the Year Award Winners

These moving words began a celebration of three boardroom heroes, each of whom has demonstrated a spirit of boundless energy towards improving the governance our nation’s boardrooms for the benefit of the shareowners.

The evening’s first honoree, Josh Bekenstein, was honored as NACD’s 2010 Nonprofit Director of the Year. Mr. Bekenstein joked that when
his secretary called to let him know he won “an award for not making a profit during the entire year,” he had a moment of pure panic. In fact, Mr. Bekenstein’s business acumen is legendary. In a taped tribute, one of his colleagues complimented his ability to connect big ideas to powerful execution to get extraordinary results.

Read more about why Josh Bekenstein was honored was NACD’s 2010 Nonprofit Director of the Year.

Next, Richard L. Keyser, former chairman of W.W. Grainger, was honored as NACD’s 2010 Public Company Director of the Year. Mr. Keyser was described as “one of the quietest, most unassuming people in the room” but the person “whose opinions carried the greatest weight.” Mr. Keyser is known to work collegially with others to run a great boardroom and make the world a better place, using this valuable work style praised throughout just about every conference session as essential to running a good board.

Read more about why Richard Keyser was honored as NACD’s 2010 Public Company Director of the Year.

The evening ended with a special presentation of the 2010 B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to 12-year DuPont board veteran, Dr. Curtis Crawford. Ellen Kullman, DuPont’s chairman and CEO, flew in to attend the dinner and to personally congratulate Mr. Crawford for his extraordinary accomplishments. “With his background, he is insightful in a way that I and no others in the company are—and he doesn’t shy away from difficult discussions. As chair and CEO, I value that in a board member.”

One way that Mr. Crawford has been sharing his gifts as a strong steward of good governance has been to award scholarships to, and  mentor students from, DePaul University, where he serves as a trustee. In fact, the University flies scholarship winners from Chicago to California “to sit at Curt’s knee, absorbing best practices in how to govern an organization well, earning the equivalent of three college credits,” said the University’s chancellor.

Read more about why Dr. Curtis Crawford was honored as NACD’s 2010 B. Kenneth West Director of the Year Award.

Richard Keyser, in his understated yet commanding way, said something earlier in the evening that summed up the insight, knowledge, and integrity of courageous directors. He said that “… all of us in this room, all of us, when we do what is right and follow the basics like integrity and hard work, are boardroom heroes.”

Finally, the sponsors, including Crystal sponsor KPMG, and Emerald sponsors DuPont, Grainger, Principal Financial Group, and Zebra Technologies Corporation, as well as corporate table sponsors Center for Audit Quality, Heidrick & Struggles, Lockheed Martin, and Oliver Wyman, were shown great appreciation by all.

The Honorable Mary Schapiro Closes NACD Conference

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The Honorable Mary L. Schapiro, Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The Honorable Mary L. Schapiro

The Honorable Mary Schapiro, chairman of the SEC, closed NACD’s 2010 Corporate Governance Conference by addressing the Commission’s upcoming 2011 rulemaking agenda. Chairman Schapiro highlighted the Commission’s difficult agenda by saying “I am in the trenches with the issues that you deal with.” She also acknowledged that the future rules would “significantly increase” the disclosure requirements for— “and profoundly impact”—boards of directors.

The Chairman said that for the first time, SEC rules require boards to explain in the proxy what a director adds to a particular board. Further, now a company’s proxy simply cannot state “risk is overseen by the board” and leave it at that; it must explain the board’s and C-suite’s risk functions, and illustrate that the board understands the compensation issues affecting risk.

Chairman Schapiro encouraged director engagement with the SEC and has instructed her staff to accept all “face-to-face meeting” requests. In addition, the SEC continues to post on the SEC website all written comment letters on SEC proposed rules and concept releases. Chairman Schapiro encouraged NACD to continue to be active and engaged in robust dialogue with the SEC and invited individual directors to join the conversation.

To catch the full session, check out NACD’s Conference-To-Go.