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New Directors: What to Look for and Setting Expectations

[The following Q&A was conducted by Scott Chase of DIRECTORS & BOARDS magazine.]


Maureen Breakiron-Evans, CPA
Experienced corporate board member, a qualified SEC Audit Committee Financial Expert and an NACD Board Leadership Fellow (2012).


You recently were appointed to the board of Ally Financial. What key characteristics was the board looking for in a new director and how can an understanding of those attributes help other director nominees?

Maureen Breakiron-Evans is an experienced corporate board member, a qualified SEC Audit Committee Financial Expert and an NACD Board Leadership Fellow (2012). She is a dynamic former CFO who has been responsible for driving the transformation of financial and technology operations, and the development of enterprise risk management programs for a variety of clients and Fortune 500 employers.  She is a Certified Public Accountant with an active license.

Board of Directors Speaker Workshop on the River

Submitted by robchakler on Tue, 07/21/2015 - 09:29

The 3rd annual Board of Directors Speaker Workshop on the River Event will take place on August 4 at 2 p.m. in New Hope, Pa. Wayne Yetter, David Griffith, and Julia Klein will be speakers centered around the topic, "When it is not Business as Usual." The topic areas will include M&A, Activists, CEO change, Crisis Management, and Making Changes to the Board.

Boards and Activists: It does not have to be a Collision

Given the activist investor climate these days, it may be surprising to recognize that activists have been around for decades. The quintessential example took place back in 1985 when Carl Icahn bought Trans World Airlines, then took it private and subsequently sold off its assets. Many claimed Icahn was responsible for the demise of this iconic American company.

Patricia Lenkov is the founder and president of Agility Executive Search. Patricia is a widely regarded thought leader on board recruiting, corporate governance, composition, succession, board diversity and inclusion. She was previously with Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stuart.

Washington Conversations in the Boardroom Series

Submitted by robchakler on Mon, 07/20/2015 - 16:17

Women in the Boardroom presents “Conversations in the Boardroom Series.” Speakers are: Brendan Sheehan, Managing Director at Rivel Research Group; Cynthia Fornelli, Executive Director of the Center for Audit Quality; Patricia McGowan, Partner with Venable LLP; Jan Molino, Managing Partner at Aspire Ascend. The event will take place on Monday, September 14, 2015 at 6 p.m. ET at Venable, LLP, in Washington D.C. The cost is $60 to attend for non-members.

Stay public, or go private?


Directors, nonexecutive chair-man, and chief executives face increasingly significant challenges in governing a business for short-term success and accretive shareholder value. The accelerating issue of operating the business for success versus the weight of public reporting, governance and stakeholder management responsibilities has become more visible in the past year through highly publicized ownership model changes.  

The author can be contacted at This column is adapted from “Public or Private? Challenges Facing the Board Room in a Changing Marketplace,” a white paper he wrote that explores the pros and cons of privatization that publicly traded companies need to weigh. A copy of the paper is available on the firm’s website (

Directors to Watch 2015: Statements

Cheryl Mayberry McKissack

Director, PrivateBancorp Inc., Deluxe Corp.

Cheryl Mayberry McKissack is the chief operating officer and president of JPC Digital for Johnson Publishing Company, best known for its flagship publication, Ebony. She is responsible for managing media operations including technology development, production, media sales, marketing, business development and all functions of the digital business unit, JPC Digital.