The 'very public' public director: there is a new skill that boards must cultivate--the ability to communicate.

Author:Rubenstein, Howard J.

Boards can no longer operate as though no one but management should be interested in their activities. In this new era, it is entirely appropriate that they search for their own ways to promote understanding of their activities, respond to criticism, and project their positive contributions and important role in guiding America's corporations.

Of course, boards have always turned to outside public relations counsel in crises and special situations. Proxy fights, boardroom coups, top-management changes, Chapter 11 bankruptcies, and M&A transactions frequently require boards to engage and interact with outside communications advisers.

But in today's environment, effective public outreach is quickly becoming an ongoing need, one that should be top of mind in virtually every aspect of the governance and oversight process. In many ways, a gauntlet has been thrown down. Each in their own way, regulators, shareholders and the press have signaled to boards and directors that they expect more of them. Those of us who work regularly with boards know that additional...

To continue reading