Sunday November 23, 2014

The Directorship 100

The veritable who’s who of the American corporate governance community, the Directorship 100 reveals the most renowned boardroom influentials.

Corporate Governance Officers, Corporate Secretaries & General Counsel

Brad Smith, Microsoft
As general counsel and senior vice president, legal and corporate affairs, Brad Smith is Microsoft’s point person for its corporate governance efforts, which have been a bright spot for the tech giant. He leads the company’s Department of Legal and Corporate Affairs, which employs a staff of more than 1,000, and is corporate secretary and chief compliance officer. Deputy General Counsel John Seethoff is chair-elect of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals.

John Ken Walker Jr., Google
The man responsible for managing Google’s global legal team and advising the company’s board and management on legal issues and corporate governance matters is general counsel John Kent Walker Jr. On the corporate-governance front, Google gives hope to those that don’t favor check-the-box governance. Like it does in many other arenas, Google has boldly gone its own way on governance, sticking with its dual-class share structure despite scrutiny and poor governance grades.

Douglas K. Chia, Johnson & Johnson
According to RiskMetrics, Johnson & Johnson has low risk on its board, audit, compensation and shareholder rights. Douglas K. Chia, assistant general counsel and corporate secretary at the health-care products company, would like to keep it that way. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Chia was assistant general counsel at Tyco International.

Margaret M. Foran, Prudential Financial
As one of the most well-known figures in corporate governance, any list of this kind would be incomplete without Margaret M. Foran, CGO and corporate secretary at Prudential Financial. In some ways she is redefining the role. In addition to her roles in corporate governance, Foran oversees shareholder services, disclosure, capital issuance, M&A and derivatives. She is a prolific writer and speaker on corporate governance and an influential and effective advocate of good governance and for governance professionals.

A. Douglas Melamed, Intel
Ask governance experts for a list of top general counsels at large companies and Douglas Melamed is sure to be on it. In this role he is responsible for overseeing all Intel legal matters as well as corporate and government affairs. With deep antitrust experience, including a stint in the Department of Justice’s antitrust unit, Melamed seems the right person to keep the tech giant’s legal troubles to a minimum.

Mark Preisinger, The Coca-Cola Company
Coca-Cola has established itself as a governance leader, thanks, in part, to the efforts of Mark Preisinger, director of corporate governance, and Geoffrey J. Kelly, general counsel. Preisinger leads Coca-Cola’s efforts to engage shareowners in a constructive dialogue and is an expert on environmental and social issues. Kelly joined Coca-Cola in 1970 as a manager in the legal department for the Australasia area.

Amy W. Schulman, Pfizer
No stranger to complexity, Amy W. Schulman leads Pfizer’s worldwide legal division as general counsel responsible for a wide range of legal and regulatory areas, including intellectual property, litigation, regulatory law and compliance, global security, licensing and acquisitions. Schulman specializes in defending companies against big product liability lawsuits. Before joining Pfizer in 2008, she was a partner at DLA Piper.

Jean K. Traub, Capital One Financial
Capital One Financial says it seeks to go beyond the requirements of SOX and the NYSE when it sets its corporate governance policies. Jean K. Traub, chief counsel, governance and assistant secretary of Capital One Financial, has the task of achieving that goal, and by many measures she is succeeding.

Paul F. Washington, Time Warner
After sorting through a raft of shareholder lawsuits related to Time Warner’s disastrous acquisition of AOL, the media and communications company set a new course on corporate governance. Paul F. Washington, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary, is the one leading the way. The company, which owns HBO, Turner Broadcasting and Time Inc., is now often at the forefront of corporate governance practices.

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Comments on “The Directorship 100”

  • carl clark says:

    I’m wondering where the proxy solicitors are on this list.

    • This is a good question and one we will take up in our 2011 survey of reader’s choices for the NACD Directorship 100 list. Thank you for bringing to my attention.

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