5 Questions for Board Interviews
For private company board members, shareholders and owners.
December 13, 2017
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5 Board Interview Questions to Ask - C onvincing the Family to Get an Independent Board  - The Board's Role in Accelerating Growth & Succession

5 Questions for Board Interviews

Two experts in director interviews -- from opposite sides of the table.

From the interviewee:

Jim McHugh CEO, McHugh & Company, Inc., and director, Southworth International Group, Inc., and Kennebec Technologies Inc.In preparing for an interview for a board of director position with a private company, I would have many questions for shareholders and management.

My assumption is that either before or after the initial round of interviews, I would have access to a collection of "due diligence" materials about the company including (but not limited to) current and historical financial performance, products, customers, competition, the industry and corporate legal matters. In addition, I would want to understand the board mechanics — frequency of meetings, expected time commitment, D&O insurance and compensation.

From the interviewer:

Dale E. Jones President and CEO, Diversified SearchThere is a fallacy that serving on a private company board is somehow easier than serving on a public one.

After all, public company boards are subjected to intense scrutiny about their bottom line and answer to a disparate collection of stakeholders; activist shareholders are now common and regularly upending corporate leadership.

Private company board members face none of these issues.

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Convincing the Family: An independent board can be a business boon

By April Hall

Getting family members to embrace an independent advisory board can be an uphill battle, so broaching the subject takes diplomacy and good timing.

Mike Kiolbassa, president of the smoked meat business Kiolbassa Provision Company, Inc., struggled to convince his family that creating an independent board was good for the future.

“It was a 68-year-old company,” he explains. “My dad was there 50 years, me for 30 years. They said, ‘Why? Are we going to lose control? Does this cede our control?’”

Kiolbassa continued to press for the advisory board. “Just the growth of the company — the size and pace — we needed the perspectives of outsiders to help us navigate the changes,” he recalls.

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The Board's Role in Accelerating Growth

By April Hall

Smart private companies realize boards can play a key role in succession planning.

At Power Construction, Al Gorman, the former CEO, “served as his own board,” according to his son Ken Gorman.

He knew his dad wouldn’t be at the helm forever, so a succession plan was in order. “We had to think ‘How is this company going to continue and could we fulfill and grow what he was giving to us?’” says Gorman. “We decided we could not.” So they needed a governance plan.

Ken Gorman and others in Power Construction’s management team created a fiduciary board to help with succession and bolster plans for growth.

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