This is a different kind of corporate governance book. With its vivid stories and conversational tone, Boards That Excel is like sitting down with an astute and experienced friend—one who’s passionate about what corporate and nonprofit boards can contribute to their organizations’ success when they set high aspirations, are clear on purpose, and do the right things in the right way. B. Joseph White, an experienced corporate and nonprofit director and a distinguished academic, argues that boards can enable organizations to do great things, but only when directors go well beyond their duty to oversee and monitor management.
White offers a road map for governance success based on his experience with two of America’s most successful companies, one public and one private. He knows governance research and distills it to a handful of truly useful insights for boards and directors. He provides clear guidance on the essential work boards must do, and, drawing on behavioral research, he describes how they can ensure the boardroom is a place of good information, thoughtful evaluation, and wise decision making.
The book reports on interviews with more than a dozen high-performance board chairs, CEOs, and directors, including Siebel Systems founder Tom Siebel, legendary real estate investor Sam Zell, former Harlem Globetrotters owner Mannie Jackson, GM board chairman and former Cummins chairman and CEO Tim Solso, and volunteer (University of Illinois, University of Michigan) and corporate (Hershey, Bob Evans) director Mary Kay Haben. All speak with unusual candor on what it takes for boards and directors to excel.