It has been an extraordinarily turbulent year for American companies and their boards, marked by near-unprecedented volatility in investment markets, sharperosion of investor confidence, heightened focus on the validity and credibility of financial reporting practices, and high-profile corporate failures such as Enron and Worldcom. In this environment, the board’s critical role in overseeing fundamental corporate practices — how effectively that role is being executed and how it can be strengthened — has come under scrutiny as never before.

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