National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) President and CEO Ken Daly opened the second day of the annual NACD Board Leadership Conference with a status report of where the organization is now and where it is headed.
14,000: Number of NACD members.
75: Percentage of members who are public company directors (about 1,000 are full board members).
93: Percentage of member retention.
3,000: Participants in 2013 NACD education events.
10,000: Number of NACD webinar viewers.
1,000: Number of NACD Fellows.
22: Number of NACD chapters—5,500 people attended chapter events.
28: Pieces of intellectual capital NACD has produced this year.
4: Number of NACD advisory councils, which focused on board committees (audit, compensation, nom/gov, and risk).
NACD Directorship 2020™ is the main vehicle that NACD will use to drive conversation about the future of the boardroom. Directorship in 2020 and beyond will undoubtedly provide new opportunities and thus, will require innovative resources that directors must be prepared to embrace. NACD Directorship 2020 convened three meetings across the country this year that will inform the dialogue going forward, and more events are set for 2014.
Additionally, NACD is planning a meeting on capital markets which will convene institutional investors and directors to begin a dialogue about priorities for the future.
Fact: we live in a world of data. Today, nearly every strategic decision is fortified by metrics and dashboards, analyzing the projected outcome to the smallest degree. This is equally true at NACD, where our annual governance surveys—public, private, and nonprofit—underlie nearly every aspect of the organization’s activity. From publications and presentations, to peer exchanges, and our annual Board Leadership Conference, data collected from the thousands of respondents informs the sessions, forums, topics, and future events. Beyond the boardroom, the trends, statistics, and perspectives captured in these surveys provide those in the C-suite, investors, and stakeholders with crucial information on the current state of corporate governance in the United States.
In the regulatory sphere, we use survey data to inform our comment letters and in-person testimony on behalf of boardrooms to regulators and lawmakers. For instance, survey responses from NACD’s membership strengthened CEO Ken Daly’s comments to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) regarding proposed mandatory audit firm rotation, and the recommended alternative of a widely supported rigorous evaluation process. The PCAOB’s initiative on audit firm rotation is now “paused.”
NACD’s three annual governance surveys can help fuel your board’s process in benchmarking with respect to peers and leading practices. Whether you use a general report, or commission an NACD Custom Benchmarking Report, data broken down by industry, size, or both serves as an excellent starting point for boardroom discussions.
NACD is dedicated to providing directors with timely and pertinent content, but we need your input. As a thank you for participating in these surveys, NACD will send each participant a free electronic copy of the final report for each survey he or she takes. In fact, each survey respondent is entered to win a one-year NACD Individual Director Membership, or an opportunity to extend NACD membership. We thank you in advance for your participation.
On May 23, NACD announced the election of Dr. Reatha Clark King to chairman of our board of directors. While Reatha’s role as chair is new, her relationship with NACD goes back many years. She has been a member of NACD since 1993, an NACD director since 2005, and chaired the governance committee in recent years.
An unconventional path
Reatha’s directorship experience is extensive; she has served on the boards of ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo & Co., H.B. Fuller Co., Minnesota Mutual Insurance Co., and The Lenox Group—in addition to several nonprofit organizations. She has followed, however, what I would call an unconventional path to the boardroom. After earning undergraduate degrees in chemistry and math and later a PhD in chemistry from the University of Chicago, Reatha began her career in the sciences, working as a research chemist for the National Bureau of Standards, and then becoming a professor of chemistry and an academic dean at York College. After earning another degree—this time an MBA—she became the president of Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. Reatha was then tapped to head the General Mills Foundation, where she spent 14 years leading the company’s community initiatives. From there, she added the aforementioned board seats to her already impressive resume.
Preparing for 2020 and beyond
Looking ahead, Reatha’s experience in both the corporate arena and academia makes her particularly well-suited to guide NACD and its NACD Directorship 2020 initiative. NACD Directorship 2020 aims to help boards understand, define, and prepare for the emerging and evolving issues that will shape the future of directorship. It gives me great confidence that Reatha will be leading our organization as we prepare for 2020 and beyond.
I’m also honored that Barbara Franklin, who has led our board for the last four years, will continue to serve as a director until May 2014. Barbara has had a tremendous impact on NACD, overseeing our unprecedented membership growth during her tenure and helping us solidify our position as the authority on leading boardroom practices.
As I look at our excellent board of directors and management team, I am more confident than ever in NACD’s ability to deliver on our mission to advance exemplary board leadership.