Corporate boards seek a few good generals- directors’ group recruits military

By Guest Contributor
January 12, 2012

By Stuart Gittleman

NEW YORK, Jan. 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) — The National Association of Corporate Directors has launched a program to recruit generals and admirals for membership on boards of directors, with the aim of advancing standards of professionalism and increasing diversity of perspective, the group said Thursday.

The first program will be held Tuesday, February 28 through Thursday, March 1 in Washington, DC. Interested veteran and active-duty military flag and general officers can request an invitation and review the agenda, speakers and program details by clicking here.

With over 11,000 members, the NACD is focused on creating more effective and efficient boards and fostering collaboration among directors and governance stakeholders. Fewer than five percent of U.S. corporate boards now have a retired general or admiral on them, a spokesperson for the group said.

The program, billed as the first of its kind, aims to promote strong board leadership by helping transition some of the military’s most seasoned leaders into U.S. boardrooms as they retire, the NACD said.

“These men and women are proven, world-class leaders, and the purpose of this program is to help them mold their leadership skills, wisdom, and broad experience to serve as unique assets in the boardroom,” said NACD president and chief executive Ken Daly.

“Developing an engaged community of men and women who retired from the most senior ranks of the military will raise the standards of the directorship profession, provide diversity candidates for the future director positions, and provide opportunities for retired military officers currently serving as directors to mentor those with an interest in serving in the boardroom,” Daly added.

The program will feature leading public company directors and corporate governance professionals to familiarize the officers with boardroom requirements and how some of their service-connected skills can be applied to public and private company boardrooms. The sessions will address how military professionals may best position themselves for boardroom service while providing lessons on skills and training essential to leading corporate governance and boardroom practices.

After taking an online course on “how to be(come) a director” ahead of the program, the officers will attend sessions on:

  • the role and motivation of various outside influences on the boardroom, including regulators, institutional investors and proxy advisors, and why they impact boardroom operations;
  • the critical role the Delaware Court of Chancery plays in business, which will be presented by Myron Steele, Chief Justice of the Delaware State Supreme Court;
  • positioning oneself for boardroom service, including how attendees can network and describe their skills in order to demonstrate how they will add value to the boardroom;
  • an overview of the three key committees – audit, compensation and nominating/governance – and how they serve greater boardroom operations;
  • strategy and risk from the board’s perspective, including how the board effectively engages with management on strategy and oversees risk management; and
  • understanding and scrutinizing financial statements with a director’s perspective.

The program complements NACD’s efforts to promote the unique values of broad, cognitive diversity in the boardroom.

“While many of the military leadership skills such as sound strategic thinking, risk management and decision making are also necessary for corporate leadership, it can sometimes be hard to translate those skills into the private sector. And yet, these competencies are desperately needed in today’s boardrooms,” said U.S. Army General (retired) Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, board chairman of Red Hat and a member of the program’s advisory council.

NACD partners Korn/Ferry International, KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute and Broadridge Financial will cover most of the participants’ expenses, the NACD said.

 

(This article was produced by the Compliance Complete service of Thomson Reuters Accelus.  Compliance Complete (http://accelus.thomsonreuters.com/solut ions/regulatory-intelligence/compliance- complete/) provides a single source for regulatory news, analysis, rules and developments, with global coverage of more than 230 regulators and exchanges.)

One comment

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This is a great program. And, I am certain that many, many corporations would greatly benefit from the experience of “flag” rank officers on their boards.

However, I firmly believe that this program should be extended to junior officers, as well–particularly those of us who served in combat, or in high level attache’ roles. I believe that we, too, have much to teach companies about leadership and service to their various constituencies.

Paul A. Dillon
Former 1st Lieutenant, Transportation Corps
U.S. Army Reserve (1969-71)
paul@pauldillon.com
http://www.dillonconsult.com

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