In collaboration with twenty one leaders in the venture industry, in May of 2006, I established and now chair the Working Group on Director Accountability and Board Effectiveness. This group was formed to proactively address issues raised by respondents to the National Venture Capital Association’s first board survey revealing a strong consensus view that our industry lacks metrics to measure board effectiveness.
The result of this collaboration is a new venture industry white paper “A Simple Guide to the Basic Responsibilities of VC-Backed Company Directors”, which will be released for general distribution shortly.
One of the central themes of this guide is that one size does not fit all on venture boards— that important differences in the legal responsibilities and minimum performance expectations exist between VC directors, management directors and independent directors. To make matters more complex, inexperienced directors join venture-backed company boards more than in any other industry, whether they are first-time entrepreneurs, younger venture partners or independent directors.
Three “education modules” are the core of the guide:
Module I specifies the legal responsibilities of board service, outlines minimum business requirements for different directors, and signs of effective and ineffective boards and directors.
Module II consists of a short list of self-assessment questions that every director should ask him or herself once per year addressing their own performance on the board.
Module III consists of an annual board peer review that directors should be able to complete in 15 minutes and includes suggestions as to the logistics of its implementation.
In conjunction with the release of “A Simple Guide . . . “ Dow Jones VentureOne is convening a roundtable of venture industry experts for an in-depth 90-minute virtual seminar. all of the panelists are members of the Working Group on Director Accountability and Board Effectiveness.
Joining me on the panel will be:
Steve Bochner, a partner with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati with over 25 years’ experience practicing corporate and securities law. Mr. Bochner was also a member of the SEC’s Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies.
Juliet Flint, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who advises portfolio companies on areas of Human Capital, including executive leadership, corporate governance and team building.
Promod Haque, managing partner of Norwest Venture Partners whose past board seats include Tivoli Systems (acquired by IBM), Forte Software (acquired by Sun), Cerent (acquired by Cisco), Siara Systems (acquired by Redback Networks), Winphoria Networks (acquired by Motorola) and Resonext Communications (acquired by RF Micro Devices). Currrently he sits on the boards of such companies as Open-Silicon, Veraz Networks, Sonoa Systems, Cast Iron Systems, Virtela Communications and Yipes.
Joy Weiss, the CEO of Dust Networks who has 20 years of executive experience that includes piloting Esker through its IPO and later its acquisition of Teubner, Inc.
Dave Barry, managing editor with VentureOne, will be the seminar’s moderator.
If you are interested in participating in this interactive virtual seminar, please visit the following website link.
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