What directors are thinking.

Position:Top of Mind
 
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GABRIELLE SULZBERGER, DIRECTOR: Teva Pharmaceuticals, Brixmor Property Group. Former board chair for Whole Foods

"The importance of strategic board refreshment is not only a topic in boardrooms, but is clearly, and appropriately, top of our mind for our shareholder constituencies as well.

"One of the most important topics in boardrooms these days is the increased imperative to make sure we have the right directors at the table given the company's current and future needs. While in some ways this is not a new topic, the nature of the conversation has evolved due to the recognition that given the rapid rate of change in industries that are more frequently being disrupted, planning for and managing board refreshment is paramount.

"Although typically our fellow directors are all very diligent and capable, in this dynamic environment it is increasingly important to regularly assess whether the skills and experience that were relevant when they were brought on the board meet the needs of the organization today and going forward. In this dynamic context, it is all the more critical that boards: 1) ensure thoughtful director succession planning; 2) determine the best approach for mapping and identifying important current and future director skill set gaps; 3) consider reviewing size and tenure policies if natural attrition is inadequate to ensure the addition of new skills and perspective; and 4) balance refreshment with retention of institutional experience and wisdom."

Gabrielle Sulzberger is a Trustee of the Ford Foundation, serves on the board of the WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. She has served as General Partner of Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners, a private equity fund based in Pasadena, Calif.; and served as CFO of several public and private companies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and Juris Doctor from Harvard Law...

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