Toward a more meaningful balance – boards and CEOs seek to find their sweet spot

Posted by Christine Rivers

The Board’s role vis-à-vis the CEO has always been somewhat sensitive. In our experience, the way the relationship is handled is a function of many factors. While all board members and CEOs would certainly see the board as the overseer of the CEO, and CEOs understand they work at the pleasure of the board, it is in some ways a “non-discussable” and often complicated relationship. Even when the CEO has a strong working relationship with the board, it is difficult for many board members to be candid; providing good feedback and counsel is not necessarily what they do best and certainly not what many are comfortable doing.

This issue is further complicated by the frequent scenario of board members who are former CEOs themselves, which may make them a bit more forgiving and accepting of the CEO’s performance as they have a greater appreciation of the context within which the CEO operates. Or, it can temper in other ways their view of the CEO – “when I was in t ...

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