This year’s class of Directors to Watch faces the traditional array of threats to good governance and board best practices but is also confronting new challenges as well, such as cybersecurity and the aggressiveness of activist investors.
An anniversary is always occasion for reflection. This, the 10th anniversary compilation of Directors to Watch, is part of an ongoing effort by Directors & Boards to promote and support diversity in the boardroom. When we began this series in 2006, that support already had a long history with the journal. An article published early in the tenure of our editor, Jim Kristie, was titled “Finding the Blue Chip Woman Director.” The year was 1981.
Back then, boards were typically “male, pale, and stale,” an epithet that has not softened with the passage of time. Boards have always been challenged, at one level or another, with new risks and new opportunities arising at what seems to be an increasing pace. In 2006, for example, many boards had not ever faced a sustained financial crisis. Sarbanes, Oxley, Dodd and Frank were names on a congressional roster, not markers in a legislative and regulatory redefinition of director service.
The first few editions of Directors to Watch included a mix of genders, colors, races, and experience. Over the past several years, the series has been devoted to female directors. The idea is to showcase women directors of an age and level of experience that makes it a safe bet that they will continue to contribute to and help define the corporate governance agenda for publicly traded and privately held companies.
The Directors to Watch Class of 2015 faces the whole traditional array of threats to good governance and board best practices. In addition to topics like executive compensation, enterprise risk management, protection of corporate reputation, and social responsibility, our honorees are facing new challenges such as cybersecurity and the rise of activist shareholders and investors.
Next year Directors & Boards celebrates its 40th anniversary of continuous publication and service to boards everywhere. We plan to continue to drive the topic of gender diversity on boards. The studies have been made, the statistics are in, and the facts can’t be disputed — having a variety of experience, perspective, background and gender makes for enhanced governance and better results across the board.
For this upcoming 40th anniversary edition, the Directors to Watch feature will revisit some of our past honorees and report back on where they are today and how they have moved the ball for board best practices. Until then, take a look at these dozen superstars who are our choices at mid-decade.
Directors to Watch 2015
Director, PrivateBancorp Inc., Deluxe Corp.
Director, Sargento Foods Inc., Badger Meter Inc., F. Dohmen Co.
Director, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., Heartland Payment Systems Inc.
Director, Whole Foods Market Inc., Brixmor Property Group Inc.
Director, McDonald’s Corp., NorthShore University HealthSystem
Director, Darden Restaurants Inc., SpartanNash Co., SunOpta Inc.
Chairman, American Apparel Inc.
Director, TrueBlue Inc., Port Blakely Companies
Director, New Flyer Industries Inc., Spartan Light Metal Products
Chair, Pottinger; Director, Flight Centre Travel Group
Director, Total System Services Inc., RidgeWorth Funds
Director, Abbott, Russell Reynolds Associates
Director, Splunk Inc.
Nominate a ‘Director to Watch’
“Directors to Watch” is an annual feature in Directors & Boards magazine designed to highlight our support for gender diversity in the boardroom and corporate governance best practices. Appearing in the feature is not contingent on advertising or any other financial commitment. We acknowledge the help and guidance of Diversity in Boardrooms (www.diversityinboardrooms.com), WomenCorporateDirectors (www.womencorporatedirectors.com), our advisory board, and past honorees for nominating the Directors to Watch Class of 2015.
If you would like to support “Directors to Watch” or nominate a director for inclusion in Directors & Boards, please send your candidate’s name, current primary corporate and board positions, full contact details for your nominee, and a sentence or two on why you believe this person is a “Director to Watch” to Scott Chase via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Laclede Group
Heidrick & Struggles
Heartland Payment Systems
Santa Fe Group