2012 Leadership Summit

A quiet opportunity to talk together…

On September 27th, 2012, Lonergan Partners held its second annual networking summit of public company CEOs in the Silicon Valley at the Rosewood Hotel near Stanford. The goal was to talk privately about the role of the board in corporate governance, and in particular to focus on board/CEO interaction. Topics included: corporate strategy formation, goal-setting, board/management evaluations and a discussion on board composition. With 22 technology CEOs in attendance, the event was a lively and spirited interaction.

 

 

Here are some key takeaways from that discussion:

  • The #1 mistake CEOs and Chairman reported for their first two years was failure to take action when inheriting non-performing members of senior management early in their CEO tenure.
  • Chairmen can often help new CEOs evaluate and rate their people better than the (new) CEO can.
  • The Chairman’s role has changed significantly in the last 10 years in companies where there are different CEOs and Chairmen. The board chair is often the main board interface point for the CEO, giving the CEO insights on board thinking.
  • When the Chairman and the CEO work well together, the company works better as a result. While not always easy, the Chairman and the CEO have to respect each other enough to provide each other with frank feedback.
  • Operating teams are usually ‘tuned in’ to board/management interactions and want to hear they are achieving clear and productive communication.
  • The Chairman is increasingly responsible for the constitution of the board, ensuring that each board member adds significant value. The Chairman is sometimes required to replace under-performing board members with the support of fellow board members.
  • The group participated in an interesting discussion about the level of operating detail the board should engage in. While no consensus was reached, it’s clear that some boards are deeply involved in business operations while others are involved at the strategy and governance levels only.

Moderators

Flip Gianos Flip Gianos
Chairman, Xilinx
Xilinx logo
Peter Van Camp Peter Van Camp
Executive Chairman, Equinix
Equinix logo
John Shoven John Shoven
Chairman, Cadence
Cadence logo