Best Practices

SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson says good governance can bolster innovation, human capital and societal success.

Private company boards are in the best position to propel environmental, social and governance issues which in turn can boost the bottom line and societal good, says Securities & Exchange Commission commissioner Robert Jackson.

By April Hall

The Westphal family is deeply involved in the governance of their tax software company but stays out of management.

On a snow day in 2012, when kids had the day off from school and people were encouraged to stay off the roads, Jeff Westphal, second-generation CEO of Vertex Inc., called his sisters and asked for a meeting that day.

By April Hall

Installing professional governance in the family business helps take personal dynamics out of company decisions and strategic planning. Objective advice from independent board members can help prevent family disputes and ensure decisions are being made in the best interests of the business.

Governance structures evolve as companies evolve

By Barbara Spector

Southworth International Group Inc., a Falmouth, Maine-based manufacturer of ergonomic material handling equipment, has had a host of governance milestones over the years.

Start with a tailored skills matrix; and look for directors with keen intellect, low ego

By Barbara Spector

To build the best board for your business, don’t try to duplicate other companies’ governance structures.

If you want to find great directors, your first step should be to create a skills matrix. List the abilities and experience of your current board members and identify gaps you must fill to ensure the board can help your company achieve its strategic goals.

Adding independent directors with transformational technology experience help companies stay on top of innovation

By Alok Gupta

The management of a privately held company providing real estate services to retailers needed to transform the firm’s business model, including adopting new e-commerce strategies and demographic analytics.

Board meetings can get bogged down with a host of basic information, formalities and reports. Is the board just going through the motions? What’s the best use of the valuable time directors spend together?

If you’ve asked these questions, then you’ve already recognized an opportunity for improvement.

That’s where the chair of a family business board can step in to help prioritize the use of the board’s time.

Three decades ago our sister publication, Directors & Boards, which focuses on the governance of publicly traded companies, proposed the fundamental question that boards need to ponder at least once a year: “Is this the day we fire our CEO?” This remains as true today as it did then. The most important decision continually facing a board is whether the top leadership, in particular the CEO, has the strategic vision and personal capacity to drive the company forward. This is true for both public and private companies.

A set of principles that were part of a new law in England requiring large private companies to disclose their corporate governance plans could provide a framework for privately held firms beyond the UK.

The new mandate, which went into effect Jan. 1, and the principles that sprung from the process are known as the Wates Corporate Governance Principles for Large Private Companies.

Directors, executives and employees at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago traveled to Alabama historic sights to bol