Best Practices

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

Directors are in a great position to thwart attacks by stepping into hackers’ shoes, advises Dave DeWalt, Delta’s security director, former McAfee CEO, and private company director and investor.

When assessing cyber risks, boards may want to try and think like a cyber thief.

What directors need to know about SEC chairman’s call for clarity

By Howard E. Berkenblit

Private companies seeking to raise capital without going public must deal with a confusing array of choices under federal securities laws.

That may change.

As The Duchossois Group has evolved over 102 years, so has its governance. 

A few years after Craig Duchossois took over management of his family’s business, he had to confront the recession that resulted from the stock market crash in October 1987.

“Every single one of our major business units had a reversal,” says Duchossois, chairman and CEO of  The Duchossois Group Inc., based in Chicago. His reaction during the crisis, he recalls, was, “I’m in deep trouble.”

Emerging technologies and business-model disruption are shaping company governance in several ways. 

Public company directors have three issues top of mind: changing global economic conditions, cybersecurity and competition for talent.

These issues should also be on the agendas of private company boards, stresses Deborah DeHaas, vice chairman and national managing partner, Center for Board Effectiveness, Deloitte LLP.