CEO & Board Support

Here are some of the key CEO & Board Support and Advisory Services Masters-Rudnick is typically called upon to provide clients:

Act as confidential advisors to CEOs and board and committee chairs - Complicated, sometimes difficult, relationships can result from the isolation of the CEO. Unhealthy tension in these relationships can impair CEO/board dynamics and can interfere with board and management effectiveness. We work with CEOs and chairs of boards and board committees – sometimes as confidential sounding boards – to improve communication and build trust among all participants.  The result: a constructive dynamic in which independent directors can comfortably debating issues, develop consensus, and provide support to the CEO and senior management.

Help develop strong CEO-board working relationships – The CEO is key to the company’s business success.  Particularly when a CEO is new to the corporation and the board, or when there are significant changes in board membership, it is crucial that a strong, productive working relationship be established quickly. We work with the CEO and board on communication issues, including what information is needed by the board and how it is presented. Through this process, we help CEOs build trust, and we counsel boards on how they can be supportive of the CEO while at the same time challenging management.

Conduct “360″ interviews with directors and senior management - Candid communication in any organization can be a challenge.  We conduct confidential, not-for-attribution interviews to provide candid, holistic reviews of individual or group performance.

Mediate disputes and differences among board members - As boards become more diverse, often through mergers or election of new members, misunderstanding can harden into disagreement, and disagreement can blossom into a dispute.  We work with boards to mediate differences that have arisen. The key is to help boards understand the issues, including non-business issues, that divide them, and then work with them to build collaborative solutions.

Develop processes to prevent disagreements from becoming disputes - Boards have no built-in dispute resolution mechanisms.  In a prior time, the CEO could act as final arbiter of disputes.  In an era of independent, diverse boards, it is important that boards develop internal processes to handle disagreement, while at the same time encourage different points of view and debate.  We work with boards to develop the processes and techniques that ensure robust discussion and debate, but that also resolve differences and build consensus.

Develop director and officer orientation programs - New board members and senior staff often assume their offices without a working knowledge of governance principles, the role of the board, and the governance practices of the company.  We help companies tailor materials, and we conduct educational sessions for their boards and senior staff that orient them both to the organization’s business and to their particular governance responsibilities.  

Strengthen senior staff support of the board - We have long experience watching senior company officers fumble in their dealings with boards because they do not understand the board’s function or needs.  We advise senior corporate staff and work with them to provide the material that boards need and to tailor their presentations to the board in ways that focus on board concerns and questions. We also help senior officers with the support services that they provide to the board.

Tailor appropriate information packages - Boards need regular information to monitor company operations and to make decisions.  We work with managements and boards to develop information packages which in content and presentation are oriented to the board’s requirements.  

Establish effective board organization and board calendars - Governance suffers when boards and corporate staff lack efficient and effective processes and organizational tools.  We review current practices, compare them against the board’s and committees’ responsibilities and then work with boards to organize their activities in a cogent, efficient annual calendar tailored to the board’s specific needs.

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