Lead Director = Chief Process Leader.

Position:EDITOR'S NOTE - Editorial
 
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In the The CEO'S Boss: I Tough Love in the Boardroom published in 2010, Columbia Business School management professor William Klepper, predicted that "lead independent directors will become the chief process leaders of their board."

So what happened?

I contacted Klepper recently to get his take on the lead director-and-CEO relationship given our package for this issue is focused on "CEO Maintenance."

The lead director, he says, should play a key role in CEO maintenance and essentially be the chief process officer.

The lead independent director is the one who keeps the lines of communication open with CEO, giving them feedback and support for the things they need to do to be more effective, he explains.

The lead director, he continues, "is the articulator between the board and the CEO, particularly if the CEO is the chairperson. The maintenance of the CEO is dependent on maintaining a viable board-CEO partnership."

The independent board role has been mushrooming, in part because of the Dodd-Frank Act that mandated companies disclose whether or not they have such a director if the firms have a combined CEO and chairman.

Among the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 23 companies had a lead director, according to research from Sidley Austin LLP. The law firm found that among the most common responsibilities was that the director serve "as a liaison between the chair and the...

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