Best Practices

The closely held retailers, restructuring under bankruptcy, could have benefited from good governance

By Maureen Milford

Before seeking bankruptcy protection in September, the closely held, family owned retailer Forever 21 Inc. had only three board members: the founder, his daughter and the company’s president.

A Corporate Governance Disaster

By Lyndon Park

The recent debacle that was the We Company’s planned IPO serves as a clear and ominous warning to all potentially aspiring public companies that have operated in the sanctuary of private ownership for many years – be prepared for the scrutiny and standards of the public investment community.  And by the way, they aren’t exactly what they used to be.

Recent IPO delays shed light on equity conflicts between employees and management

By Maureen Milford

Directors at tech companies might want to take a second-look at their stock option plans if recent cases involving Silicon Valley startups are any guide. 

Boards can tackle family concerns and inertia, and take businesses  to the next level.

A second-generation family-owned manufacturing business was stuck. The company wasn’t in trouble, but it had hit a wall and was stagnating.

The leadership team needed a succession plan and replacements. The company’s products were good, but there were new competitors and substitutes, and a number of the company’s functional areas were stale. In addition, the company operated in a bubble — there was no board of directors or advisers.

Do’s and don’ts for success.

Many private companies are considering the establishment of their first true fiduciary board as they think about their futures in a world full of change, new challenges and opportunities, and leadership and ownership transition. 

Exclusive survey finds most firms pay annual retainers, with a median amount of $30,000.

Private companies face unique challenges relative to their publicly traded peers when compensating top officers and directors ­— one of which is little data on what these firms pay their boards.

I have long felt that many private companies’ attitudes, outlook and values are at the forefront of a national discussion on the purpose of a company. As CEOs on the Business Roundtable, politicians and academics begin to re-examine the character and purpose of public companies, the characteristics they are now holding up to emulate are those that many private companies have exhibited for decades.

CEO Kathleen Mazzarella discusses the company and board’s focus  on long-term decision making and environmental, social and governance issues.

To Kathy Mazzarella, chair, president, and CEO of Graybar Electric Company, environmental, social and governance issues (ESG) aren’t something new.

“While ESG has become a popular area of focus in recent years, those principles have always been a way of life at Graybar,” she explains.

Companies looking to go public, or innovate should consider bringing women into the boardroom

By Maureen Milford

Private company directors might be feeling a tad lucky they’re exempt from California’s new board diversity requirements now that the state has issued its first report on corporate compliance to the law that requires women on public company boards.

But don’t get too comfy.

Fallout at Equinox and SoulCycle provides a lesson for boards. 

In today’s hyper-politicized world, even private company directors can be caught unaware in a media deluge that impacts the companies they serve. The recent experience of a board chairman at a global real estate and lifestyle company shows how it can happen.