You will find that the sixth annual NACD Directorship 100, a compilation of the most influential people in corporate governance, contains many familiar faces and more newcomers. The 2012 version is diverse, comprehensive and, in some cases, even controversial. We welcome that. In the following, NACD Directorship briefly tells the story of these exemplary leaders: 100 professionals and the institutions that provide outstanding expertise and direction to boards, and 100 leading directors who actively pursue best practices inside the boardroom. Their approaches and philosophies may differ, but they all share the common challenge of these times—striving to enhance how boards serve shareholders. In addition, you will find individual profiles of the outstanding 2012 Corporate Governance Hall of Fame honorees, the NACD B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award winner, two Public Company Directors of the Year, and finally, those who may represent the future of the D100, in our third annual People to Watch.
How It’s Done
Each year, the making of the NACD Directorship 100 evolves into something that differs in both small and remarkable ways. Experience informs our judgment. This year, for example, the D100 is again not one list but two—100 corporate directors and 100 governance institutions and professionals. How are they selected? The year-long process begins with a call for nominations and an online survey. An editorial advisory group, comprised of NACD editors and researchers and a select group of advisors invited from the world of governance, vet the subsequent list of more than 1,000 nominees, whose names are then placed before the NACD board of directors.
As such, the originator of the Directorship 100, NACD Managing Director and Senior Advisor Jeff Cunningham, has written that our approach to the NACD D100 is more recipe than methodology. Directors and officers are first chosen for their unique individual attributes and achievements. Preference is then given to chairs of corporate boards and committees. The rationale is that if your peers elevate you to a leadership position, that speaks volumes about your capability.
For Governance Professionals and Institutions, the 13 categories represent the most important spheres of influence in corporate governance. So it is not surprising that many of our honorees donate time and expertise to support the mission of NACD as members and active participants in the ongoing dialogue about best practices. Many of the individuals on this portion of the D100 are selected because of the role they play in organizations that frame the ecosystem of corporate governance.
Can one be removed from the list, readers ask? yes, if you leave a position at the SEC, for example, you most likely will leave the D100.
Professional service providers are also an integral part of this community, for very good reason. Without attorneys, compensation consultants, audit firms and recruiters, boards would be unable to exercise their duty in the most professional manner possible. Investors, journalists and policy advisors all play a critical role, whether they inform or influence judgments through proxies, newsgathering or advocacy.
NACD’s mission—to advance exemplary board leadership—would not be possible without both leading directors and governance experts. Getting to know each other is not only enjoyable but a necessary foundation for the critical task ahead.—Judy Warner