The CEO's Boss: Tough Love in the Boardroom

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Columbia University Press, 2010 - Business & Economics - 140 pages
In order to avoid another Enron, WorldCom, or Tyco, company directors have assumed a bold and independent role in the boardroom, monitoring the actions and day-to-day operations of the CEO. This dramatic shift has created a new dynamic, one that requires careful negotiation from both parties to get the job done. Giving directors, executives, investors, and stakeholders the tools to make this relationship work, William M. Klepper describes the best techniques for building a productive partnership and establishing a plan of action for a variety of businesses and settings.

Klepper, an executive educator, has worked with AT&T, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Sun Microsystems, and a host of other corporations. He knows what makes a healthy partnership between a board and its CEO and the consequences of a bad fit. In this book, he details the eight practices of successful executives, such as facilitating innovation, motivating change, and developing leadership skills, and he explains what directors need to evaluate, such as working style, social behavior, and the handling of stress, before they commit to hiring a CEO.

The most critical element is the social contract, in which directors and their CEOs agree to be transparent, continually reassess their company's risk, maintain core company values, and make a commitment to their stakeholders. These include employees, shareholders, customers, and the community. In this essential volume, Klepper encourages directors to embrace their independence, and he teaches executives to value tough love.

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Enron. Global Crossing. WorldCom. Adelphia. Tyco International. These corporate cautionary tales point to the crucial importance of responsible corporate governance, something in shockingly short supply in recent years. In this book, Columbia Business School Professor William M. Klepper discusses why boards must show “tough love” to CEOs to keep them in line with corporate goals. He details how a “Social Contract” can set the working partnerships between directors and CEOs. Klepper, a management expert in board and executive relationships, has worked on executive education with some of the world’s best-known firms, including AT&T, Sony and Johnson & Johnson. He tends to refer to these experiences and his credentials frequently, name-dropping with abandon. But maybe his self-promotion is justified, because he sure knows his subject. getAbstract thinks board members and CEOs will learn a lot from Klepper’s insightful, instructive and fascinating case histories.
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About the author (2010)

William M. Klepper is a professor of management at the Columbia Business School, where he teaches a course on executive leadership and serves as the academic director of executive education. He is also the faculty director of Columbia University's partnership with the Outstanding Directors Exchange (ODX) and has served as vice president of the College of New Jersey, president of his school board, president of his county legislature, and mayor of his township. His most recent publication is What CEOs Have Yet to Learn.

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