Why do corporate boards exist? That is not intended as a philosophical or rhetorical question but rather one with a concrete and practical response. Corporate boards, when they are properly constituted and enabled to function effectively, elevate the performance of the CEO from a governance perspective. When boards perform at their peak, they are meeting not only their governance objectives but their highest ethical purpose as well.
This position is based on an evolving view of the role of corporate boards that goes well beyond the traditional, circumscribed oversight and stewardship roles. While those may remain the baseline duties, boards that don’t go grow beyond them are squandering their often considerable horsepower and the level at which they can and should be engaged, working as a team with the CEO.