The Board Book: An Insider's Guide for Directors and Trustees

The Board Book: An Insider's Guide for Directors and Trustees

by William G. Bowen


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The Board Book: An Insider's Guide for Directors and Trustees by William G. Bowen

"By far the best book on corporate and institutional governance." —Nicholas Katzenbach, former attorney general of the United States
In his new foreword to The Board Book, former Mellon Foundation and Princeton University president William G. Bowen brings his immense experience to bear on the most pressing questions facing boards of directors and trustees today: seeking collaborative relationships and placing a renewed emphasis on sustainable initiatives. The strategies Bowen relates throughout the book foster the collegiality and sense of purpose—more important in today’s turbulent times than ever before—that are integral to any effective board.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393066456
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/28/2008
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

William G. Bowen (1933—2016) was an influential educator and the author of more than twenty books, including Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President, The Shape of the River, and Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education.

Table of Contents

Preface     3
Approach Taken     4
Commentators     10
Organization     14
Acknowledgments     17
Roles of Boards-and the Constraints They Face     19
Why Are Boards Needed?     19
What Do Boards Do?     21
Return on Mission     27
Changing Contexts and Constraints     30
Scandals and Their Consequences     30
Regulatory and Media Constraints     36
Market Constraints and "Owners"     38
Board Leadership     45
A Separate Chairman? The Conceptual Arguments for and against Splitting the Roles     46
Practical Considerations: The Need to Take a Situational Perspective     53
The Lead Director Model     57
Summing Up: Prospects for Organizational Change in the For-Profit Sector     61
Postscript: Characteristic Differences in Board Structure between Nonprofits and For-Profits     64
Compensating the CEO     69
A Hot-Button Issue in the For-Profit Sector     69
Actions to Consider     75
Analogous Issues in the Nonprofit Sector     81
Appendix to Chapter 3: Board Evaluation of CEOs in a Nonprofit Setting (by Nicholas Donatiello)     88
Evaluating and Replacing the CEO     91
The Obligation to Decide When New Leadership Is Needed     91
The Role of a Careful Evaluation Process     97
The Proper Length of the Leash: Different in the Two Sectors?     99
Establishing a Set Retirement Date     102
CEO Transitions     105
Improving the Succession-Planning Process     107
Recruiting a New Leader: Job Specifications     108
The Search Process     109
Personal/Professional Qualifications of Candidates     116
Graceful Transitions: What Should Be the Ongoing Role of the Former CEO/President?     121
Building the Board     125
The Size of the Board     126
Recruiting Board Members: The Context and Process     129
Recruiting the Right Individuals     136
Diversity     142
Independence of Board Members     144
Board Machinery     149
Committees     149
Board Deliberations and Dynamics     154
Executive Sessions     159
Managing Conflicts of Interest     161
Confidentiality and the Handling of Leaks     163
When Resigning Is (and Is Not) the Right Thing to Do      165
Dysfunctional Board Members, Term Limits, and Mandatory Retirement     168
Compensation of Directors and Trustees     172
Board Evaluation     176
Themes     178
The CEO-Board Partnership     178
Courage and the Will to Act     182
Investing in Governance     183
Are For-Profit and Nonprofit Board Practices Converging?     185
Rewards for Service on Boards     186
Notes     189
Index     219

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