Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Building Effective Boards

Beverly Behan outlines some key principles regarding the construction of effective boards of directors. I think it's especially important to note that so much of the governance reform literature focuses on the composition of the board, whereas much of the impact can be found in improving board process. After all, one can alter composition to insure, for instance, a high share of outsiders on the board, but that doesn't mean that the board will truly be independent of top management. Many people who appear to be outsiders, in fact, may have close social ties with the CEO. Composition, then, is a blunt instrument of governance reform. For boards to operate effectively, they need to rethink their process. That improvement effort should focus on key process issues such as information flow, opportunity for surfacing divergent views, and the like.

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