Are boards too old? Or, is the better question this one: Should there be more younger directors on the board? Let's start by looking at the numbers. Here is a board comparison of the largest 25 companies of the Fortune 500 and the Forbes Top 25 most profitable growth companies.

Author:Dalton, Dan R.
Position:Company rankings
 
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AS PART OF THIS EDITION'S SPECIAL FOCUS On "Are Boards too Old?" James Kristie, editor of Directors & Boards, asked if I would collect some data--and add a bit of commentary--to compare some of the age-related aspects of boards. We chose to analyze the top 25 companies in the Fortune 500 and the top 25 most profitable growth companies identified by Forbes magazine. The object of this data-driven journey was to compare a group of decidedly mature, yet very successful, companies of the Fortune 500 with a group of much younger, but also high profile, companies. I was pleased to do so and you will find several exhibits that comprise the summary of these data.

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These exhibits are arranged to provide two distinct--and we hope interesting--overall comparisons. Exhibit 1 contains information on the following comparisons between these two sets of companies:

--The percentage of directors who are 60 years of age or older;

--The percentage of directors who are 70 years of age or older;

--The extent to which these companies have a board members' retirement policy and, if so, at what age?

--The ages of the CEO (CEOs often serve simultaneously as chairperson of the board);

--The average age of directors;

--The average tenure of directors;

--The percentage of directors with a tenure of 10 or more years; and,

--The percentage of directors with a tenure of 15 or more years.

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You will notice that Exhibit 1 also provides a "color coding." The beige code identifies the top 25 companies of Fortune 500 group; the green coding is associated with the Forbes top 25 most profitable growth companies. I mention this because this coding facilitates a very quick comparison of the results at the bottom of the exhibit.

Exhibits 2 and 3 identify a selection of the oldest and youngest members of the board for these companies, along with their ages and affiliations. Note that the entries in all exhibits are rounded to the nearest whole number.

EXHIBIT 2a Fortune Group - Youngest member of the board Company Age Name & Affiliation Wal-Mart 40 Gregory B. Penner, General Partner, Madrone Capital Partners ExxonMobile 55 Executive Vice President and President, Global Human Health, Merck & Co. Chevron 53 John S. Watson, CEO, Chevron General Electric 50 Geoffrey Beattie, Deputy Chair, Thomson Reuters Bank of America 50 Brian T Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America ConocoPhillips 47 Robert A. Niblock, CEO and Chair, Lowe's AT&T 50 Randall L. Stephenson, CEO and Chair, AT&T Ford Motor 52 William Clay Ford Jr., Chair, Ford Motor 52 Kimberly A. Casiano, Consultant JP Morgan Chase 54 James Dimon, CEO and Chair, JP Morgan Chase Hewlett-Packard 38 Marc L. Andreessen, Internet Entrepreneur/Technologist Berkshire Hathaway 48 Susan L. Decker, Former President, Yahoo Inc. Citigroup 53 Vikram S. Pandit, CEO, Citigroup 53 Timothy C. Collins, CEO, Ripplewood Holdings LLC Verizon Communications 54 Clarence Otis Jr., CEO, Darden Restaurants McKesson 51 John H. Mammergren, CEO and Chair, McKesson General Motors 47 Stephen J. Girsky, Vice Chairman, General Motors American International 52 Christopher Lynch, Consultant Group Cardinal Health 53 Carrie S. Cox, CEO, Humacyte Inc. 53 Colleen Arnold, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Business Services CVS Caremark 48 Edwin M. Banks, Founder, Washington Comer Capital Management LLC Wells Fargo 54 Enrique Hernandez Jr., CEO and Chair, Inter-Con Security Systems 54 John Chen, CEO and Chair, Sybase IBM 55 Andrew N. Liveris, CEO and Chair, Dow Chemical UnitedHealth Group 54 Glenn M. Renwick, CEO, The Progressive Group Procter & Gamble 49 Angela Braley, CEO and Chair, Wellpoint Kroger 49 W. Rodney McMullen, President and Chief Operating Officer, Kroger AmerisourceBergen 52 Kathleen W. Hyle, Senior Vice President, Constellation Energy 52 Michael J. Long, CEO and Chair, Arrow Electronics Costco Wholesale 48 Susan L Decker, Former President, Yahoo Inc. Average Age 51 EXHIBIT 2b Fortune Group - Oldest member of the board Company Age Name & Affiliation Wal-Mart 67 Douglas N. Daft, Former CEO and Chair, Coca-Cola 67 Roger C. Corbett, Former CEO, Woolworths Exxon Mobile 70 Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chair, Carlson Chevron 71 Samuel H. Armacost, Lead Director, Chevron 71 Samuel A. Nunn Jr., CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative 71 Franklin G. Jennifer, President Emeritus, University of Texas-Dallas General Electric 73 Roger S. Penske, CEO and Chair, Penske Corp. Bank of America 71 Virgis W. Colbert, Former Vice President, Miller Brewing Co. ConocoPhillips 70 William K. Reilly, Founding Partner, Aqua International Partners AT&T 71 Patricia P. Upton, CEO, Aromatique Ford Motor 83 William Clay Ford, Director Emeritus, Ford Motor JP Morgan Chase 71 Lee R. Raymond, Former CEO and Chair, ExxonMobil Hewlett-Packard 83 Shirley Mount Hufstedler, Director Emeritus Berkshire Hathaway 86 Charles T. Munger, Vice Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway Citigroup 69 Lawrence R. Ricciardi, Senior Adviserto IBM, Jones Day, Lazard Freres & Co. Verizon Communications 73 Thomas H. O'Brien, Former CEO and Chair, PNC McKesson 71 Jane E...

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