It's 'show me' time: boards need to better demonstrate their leadership to the public.

Author:Panetta, Leon

While we haven't quite gotten to the point of real-time public scrutiny of board decisions, the desire for more information about board deliberations is building.

Exercising oversight in the sanctity of the boardroom and proving that you have done it are two different things. In order to restore trust, boards have to prove it. This is new territory for boards. It isn't clear how far we will have to go--not to do our jobs well, but to make it apparent that we have done so. Will the board have to communicate separately from the CEO? That's one of the consequences now, with a majority of the board being independent directors, and the requirement that those independent directors have the opportunity to meet separately from management. Does the board have to have its own communications function, its own advisers? Many will.

Can we, and should we, better demonstrate our leadership? Can we end the long tradition of the boardroom as a sealed chamber from which we issue only unanimous endorsements of...

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