Private Company Q&A: Directors vs. Management
Charles J. Bonfiglio
Board member, Consumer Electronics Association
What is your business background?
CB: My background is in the automotive aftermarket. I was 20 years old and moved down to Florida and opened a chain of Meineke Car Centers. And I started buying properties and developing the biggest Meineke Centers in the world. I became their leading franchisee and trainer on their board.
What board do you currently sit on?
CB: I’m on the Consumer Electronics Association board. I just got nominated for the International Window Film Association board. I am not on that board yet, but expect to be. I’ve been on the Consumer Electronics board for a year and a half.
In your experience, what should the dynamic be between directors and management?
CB: I believe that management should have targeted positions that manage certain aspects of the business or a group of people under them that manage certain positions or parts of that business. A director is someone who really is going to direct the overall company -– the direction that it’s going to go. That person usually has to be somewhat of a visionary because managers facilitate the position, and the jobs within that position, and manage the people that are under them within that position.
A director is not going to get that low into facilitating and making sure each piece is getting done. A director is more someone who will sit on a board and talk about where the industry is going.
What is the biggest difference between serving on a private company board and serving on a public company board?
CB: I think a private company board is more frugal, and they are more bootstrapped. They are making sure that the company is growing and building. They probably are more concerned about the company maturing.
When you are on a public company, all you are concerned with is the next quarter’s earnings. It doesn’t matter how you get there. And because it’s not their money, it doesn’t matter how much profit the company makes; it matters how much market share they get.
When you’re on a public company, it’s a bigger vision to grow in sales and quarterly earnings. When you are on a smaller, or private company board, you can have more control over what [the owners] want to spend and actually catapult the company to grow a little more, even though they might be smaller.
What do you look for in joining a company’s board?
CB: If I feel that I’m an expert or can add value in some way to that board group, that’s the first thing. If I don’t think that’s my area of expertise, I just don’t feel that I’m going to be a benefit for them. The other thing you have to do is think about your time. Is this going to take out of my time? And is it going to add value to my companies, and to the industry that I’m in?
What are some reasons not to join a board?
CB: If you are sitting on a board that you can’t contribute to. If you’re in a company that limits you from being able to open up and be given the information that you need to have, that would prevent me from joining a board.
If you are going to be on a board, be in a position to contribute to the company, not just for money. Or not just for the sake of being on the board to feel important or to get around people who are going to do something for you. You really have to be part of that cause.
-- Rob Chakler
About Charles J. Bonfiglio
Charles J. Bonfiglio is the CEO of Tint World, and currently has 62 franchised units open or in development in North America. He has been awarded multiple times by national organizations including Inc. 500|5000, Entrepreneur Top 500 Franchises, Mobile Electronics Retail Store Chain of the Year as well as Franchise Business Review Top 50 Franchises.
Before his time at Tint World, Charles spent over 30 years working with the international automotive brand Meineke, where he became the organization’s leading franchisee and received a number accolades including Highest Gross Annual Sales Center and Platinum Customer Service Award.