This spring, I will celebrate my fifth anniversary as the president and CEO of NACD. More important, this fall NACD celebrates its first 35 years as the nation’s premier membership organization for directors. Clearly it’s a good time for speeches, and you can easily guess the topic: change, of course.
Certainly it’s tempting to talk about the changes we have seen since 1977, when NACD was little more than a dream with a landline. Who would have believed that we would grow from a few hundred members in those early days to more than 11,000? Or that we would advise Congress and the stock exchanges on governance in the wake of Enron, or form a global alliance of director organizations a few years later? An annual report, coming soon, will detail these landmark events. So will our annual conference and D100 events, where my worthy predecessors, John Nash and Roger Raber, will be duly honored.
In this short letter, though, I’d like to reflect on how much has changed at NACD in the short time I’ve been at the helm. To some it may seem that NACD has changed more in the past five years than it did in the previous 30. In the past five years alone, NACD has become far more director- and board-centric. Notable changes include:
- A change from general to directors-only membership
- A new emphasis on full board membership, now accounting for more than half our ranks
- Strong representation in all types of boards, from smallest to largest
More than a third of Fortune 50 companies have joined us as full boards. And we have strong representation in the larger groupings as well—a quarter or more of the Fortune 100, the Fortune 500 and even the Fortune 1000, as well as many small-cap companies. The remainder are boards of major nonprofits—a constituency that we are equally proud to serve. And among all these directors, demographics are broadening as boards wisely embrace diversity —the topic of our upcoming 2012 Blue Ribbon Commission. If you want to experience the focus and diversity of our ranks, please attend a chapter event. You will catch the excitement of change, now and in the future. Many happy returns!