Questions to Ask Before Taking a Private Company Board of Directors' Seat
For private company board members, shareholders and owners.
April 11, 2018
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Questions to Ask Before Taking a Board Seat - Boards Can Quell Family Disputes - Boards Make the Best Dance Partners

Should You Take That Board Seat?

By Allan Grauberd, Lindsay Kaplan and David Lee Kovacs

An invitation to serve on a board of directors of a private corporation can be an interesting, even flattering opportunity. 

Before accepting an appointment to a board, however, a potential director should engage in an in-depth review of the corporation. They should also ask pointed questions of the corporation’s management and the other directors on the board to obtain a complete picture of the state of business and operations, including any potential legal and business risks that may expose the director to unwanted liabilities.

Here is a checklist of questions to ask before you accept a position:

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When Cooler Heads Prevail

Independent board members can quell family business disputes by reminding family directors to ‘wear the right hat’ in the boardroom. 

By Barbara Spector

Chris Vernon, fourth-generation president and CEO of The Vernon Company in Newton, Iowa, has an immediate response if his siblings request a raise: “Write it up, present it to me, and then I’ll present it to the compensation committee for you.”

Vernon’s company, which manufactures and markets promotional materials, has a majority-independent board, with five outside directors and two family members (Vernon and his father, who is the chairman).

Independent directors serving on the compensation committee review and approve pay recommendations for family members and top officers at the company.

“Frankly, that’s one of the conflict reducers for me,” Vernon says.

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The Private Company Governance Summit


Editor's Letter:  Boards Make the Best Dance Partners

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Business disruption is becoming ordinary.

Airbnb’s latest offering goes beyond just renting out homes to travelers. Its new program — “Experiences” — offers customers an array of local adventures such as Latin dancing in Philadelphia and crepe cooking classes in Paris.

Kodak is investing in blockchain, the technology behind the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to create KODAKOne, an image rights management platform, and KODAKCoin, a photo-centric cryptocurrency “to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.”

And the disruption master Amazon is looking to cut out the delivery middleman with plans to launch a delivery service for businesses, going head to head with the likes of FedEx and UPS Inc.

There’s hardly a day that goes by without a headline about another new business model, product, service or technology that’s going to “change everything.”

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