In this week’s post, James Kristie, editor and associate publisher of Directors & Boards, resurrected a quote by Irving S. Olds, the Chairman of U.S. Steel, 1940 – 1952, describing for-profit boards as “parsley on fish – decorative but useless.” Kristie continues on in his post, as he did recently with a class at Wharton, to explore the implications of corporate board governance in today’s current market crisis. Kristie’s publication is dedicated to “thought leadership in governance,” helping corporate boards to become highly effective.
The “Olds school of governance” in the for-profit sector is destructive to shareholder value and the broader economy. Similarly, old school governance in the nonprofit sector is destructive to communities – in the U.S. and around the world.
Nonprofits play a vital role in providing education and healthcare, addressing poverty, creating a more sustainable environment, and helping us achieve a more peaceful and just world. Boards of directors, comprised of people with a variety of expertise and backgrounds, have the governing responsibility to ensure that nonprofits are ambitious, effective, ethical, and successful – strategically and financially. Vibrant boards hire and work in partnership with great CEOs, who build and lead great teams.
If you are interested in more about nonprofit boards,
- Consider joining a board
- Understand what the board and organization need from you; be prepared to add value and be generous
- Know that you’ll get something out of it too
Boards shape our world and our futures. It matters who is on boards, who leads them, what we expect of them, and how we hold them accountable.