Milton L. Rock, owner of Directors & Boards and a giant in the world of business and philanthropy, died of natural causes on January 27, 2018, at the age of 96.
In the late 1970s, when he was managing partner of The Hay Group, the leading firm at that time in the burgeoning field of job evaluation and salary administration, Milt Rock sensed that the right next step for the firm would be to publish prestige journals on vital leadership matters. To that end, he acquired Directors & Boards. That action leads to my favorite story about Milt.
Shortly after I joined Directors & Boards in 1981, Milt sat me down and said, "You know, Jim, most CEOs really don't want a board of directors." I gulped a bit and thought, "Uh oh, here is the guy who just acquired a journal for CEOs and board members and he is telling me that CEOs don't want boards."
To Milt's credit and creative foresight, however, he knew that corporate boards were in need of professionalization and he saw Directors & Boards as a vehicle to bring professional development on corporate governance to boards of Corporate America. And he, along with his son Robert (who succeeded Milt as the journal's publisher) provided unwavering support of that mission.
I retired in 2017 after a long, stimulating and happy career as editor of Directors & Boards (something I wish current editor Eve Tahmincioglu will have), with Milt and Bob Rock as my publishers. (Milt eventually saw to the sale of Hay Group in the mid-1980s, but the Rocks have been steadfast in their ownership of Directors & Boards since acquiring it in 1980.)
I was fortunate to work closely with Milt, especially in the early years when he held the title of publisher (to be succeeded by Bob in 1988). Milt and I would collaborate on his "Letter from the Publisher" column that appeared in every issue. I...