Best Practices

By Barbara Spector

Private and family-owned companies are the backbone of the American economy, and their prosperity drives the country’s fiscal health.

By Jennifer Muntz and Andrew Keyt

Our natural tendency is to surround ourselves with people whose backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints are similar to ours. But in order to achieve the true power of a board of directors, you must take a different approach when considering director candidates.

Getting family members to embrace an independent advisory board can be an uphill battle, so broaching the subject takes diplomacy and good timing.

Mike Kiolbassa, president of the smoked meat business Kiolbassa Provision Company, Inc., struggled to convince his family that creating an independent board was good for the future.

“It was a 68-year-old company,” he explains. “My dad was there 50 years, me for 30 years. They said, ‘Why? Are we going to lose control? Does this cede our control?’”


Creating the best private company board comes down to making room for independent voices, innovative compensation ideas and a clear view to the future, says Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, CEO of Nia Enterprises, who sits on public and private boards.

“The first thing you have to ask yourself is do you believe in governance,” stresses McKissack, director for the Donnelley Foundation and Founders First Capital Partners, LLC.


An interview with Dennis Chookaszian, retired chairman and CEO of CNA Insurance Companies, conducted by Roger Nanney, vice chairman, Deloittle LLP, and national managing partner of Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services. 

Can you talk about your background?


A breakdown on how they can add value. 

Mead & Hunt, a private architectural-engineering consulting firm, takes its cues from public companies when it comes to governance.


When private companies need an ethics plan

By Eve Tahmincioglu

The latest developments in the Uber saga, including a legal complaint against the former CEO and shareholder feuding, are just another sign of how the ride-hailing company could have benefited from strong ethics guidelines.

By Barbara Spector

Uber director leaves after sexist joke about women on boards

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Faced with statistics about how one woman on a board leads to more gender diversity, an Uber director made a crack about how it actually leads to more talking.

Lessons for boards from Uber scandals

By Stan Silverman

Uber is known for its very aggressive, only-the-strong-survive competitive culture. But that tone, set largely by the company’s co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, may have contributed to the ride-hailing powerhouse’s recent woes.