Along with C–level and VP-level focus, BSG's practice area specialties include its board search practice. Clients have come to us with a desire to deepen their board of directors for various purposes, including:
What is one of the biggest motivations for founder-CEOs to move to Chair role at some point during a PE-backed company's value creation/hold period?
The opportunity to spend less time working “in” the business, and more time “on” the business
In the US, the National Association of Corporate Directors is the standard bearer for corporate governance and it has developed a multi-chapter network of regional associations where board directors meet regularly to share best practices and generate collective wisdom. While often more focused on public company corporate governance than private, NACD has published good thought leadership around various board roles and their differences. For more on the NACD perspective of the differences between CEO, Chairman, and Lead Director responsibilities, see this article.
One of the growing areas of BSG’s board search practice is that of the Executive Chair board seat. This position was popularized first in the UK, where the Executive Chair role has become a common position on both private and public boards of growth-oriented companies. In fact, one of the best descriptions of the Executive Chair role is displayed on the investor relations page of a UK publicly traded technology services company called Micro Focus. In the position description, it outlines key responsibilities of the executive chair role, including the following:
For a good example of a private equity-backed US business that has instituted a split Chair-CEO role, read Forbes’ coverage of Rita’s, a Philadelphia-headquartered Italian ice manufacturer in the food and beverage industry. Note that Rita’s has since been purchased by BSG client and private equity firm Argosy Capital.
For more on the differences between non-executive versus executive chair, see the Harvard Law piece, “What does a non-executive chairman do anyway?” There are a host of other variants of the board director role that may also be important to consider when either building a board for the first time, re-tooling the board for growth, or preparing a board for an IPO or sale.
“Our most recent search with BSG had a number of complicating and potentially competitive features. Getting alignment from all the key stakeholders was important and doing in a way that each felt heard and thus supportive of the search process was critical. The BSG team did an excellent job setting expectations and gaining consensus on our executive search.
BSG has a depth of research and pattern matching methodology that really drives to understand not just what the candidate work experience had been, but also what their work style and culture fit parameters are. The right resume with poor chemistry to the management team is not fit at all. The opposite is true. BSG was able to find candidates who were on paper over qualified for the position, but ended up having such a strong connection and chemistry to the company's industry and its team, that we were able to consider superior candidates for the position.
A number of the candidates that I talked with claimed the one of the special tools BSG uses to introduce the company was particularly influential in taking the next step with BSG on the search. BSG’s tool was a great way to provide candidates a better understanding of who we were and generate interest and excitement in our company.”
Marcia Hooper, Partner, Salt Venture Partners
This is the whiteboard animated highlights reel from our annual private equity dinner held each November where we invite noted global economist Dr. Allen Sinai to speak about what lies in store for the year ahead.
This year was unique in that Allen spoke to the group about a week after the surprise 2016 presidential election, and the likely effects of a Trump administration on the economy.