1. When Boards Are Stacked with Hot Seats, Who Wants the Job?

    When Boards Are Stacked with Hot Seats, Who Wants the Job?

    Chairman Stephen Sanger had just wrapped up his milquetoast presentation on Wells Fargo's sales-practices woes at the company's annual meeting last April when Bruce Marks, a housing activist and shareholder, jumped up and called on all of the board members to defend themselves. "Tell us what you knew and when you knew it. Were you complicit or incompetent?"...

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    1. That's the reality for board members today.
    2. Fifteen or 20 years ago, things were pretty predictable.
    3. I worry about directors not reading the whole packet. That's pretty much impossible.
    4. When the bank isn't doing well, you have directors wondering if they should get off the board to avoid liability. And when things are going well, you hear complaints about the enormous amount of information they have to digest.
    5. Those visits provide an almost magical opportunity for people in the organization to ask questions of the board.
    6. The job just isn't as attractive as it used to be.
    7. Thanks but no thanks. I have a company to run, and you're asking me to run another company where I have no expertise. Why would I do that?
    8. Ideally, you want several people who have operational banking experience and understand the nuances of the business.
    9. You want your board to be reflective of the communities you serve.
    10. You have to be very specific and intentional in your search.
    11. The lines between management and board responsibility have gotten blurred.
    12. A strong and effective board provides strategic leadership and oversight, which is much more challenging and important than checking off lists of assigned tasks.
    13. When we look back to the high-water mark of regulation, it's going to be the Federal Reserve itself recognizing the need to eliminate all these redundancies.
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