Month: April 2020

7. George Davis on what boards need to do in a crisis: Listen aggressively – but fight the urge to grab the wheel

George Davis has been a trusted advisor to multinational, public sector and private equity backed organizations seeking guidance on critical boardroom issues for many years.  We discuss with him what boards of directors need to do in a crisis, how this crisis is different from those in the past and what it may mean in the future for companies and the boards that serve them.

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Links

https://davispartnersgroup.com/

Quotes

A good board member understands their role and how to be supportive from a governance perspective and to fight the inclination to become a part of the management team. 10:38

I try to counsel people to say, look – this is when the CEO needs more room to breathe, to be able to pivot, to react.  Don’t choke him or her with a hundred questions because you’re concerned about something you have not agreed to that the board thinks is a concern. 11:44

Some of the fundamentals that have always been true will, post crisis, be even more of a focus as it will be clear how important they were.  A truly diverse board, with many different perspectives and skillsets, is far more likely to be able to advise their CEO than a board that wasn’t as well constructed. 17.19

I have a strong belief that after this crisis board appraisals and board succession planning will become a hot topic.  Just like CEO succession planning became a hot topic after the 2008 crisis.  In each case the question will be: did we have the right people around the table? 19:36

How do you layer the competencies and the matrix skills of the board to match where the future of the company is going to be? And with this huge consumer disintermediation that’s going to happen post Covid-19.

Fight the urge to be false predictions of overconfidence. Be extremely clear in your communications, honesty right now is way more appreciated than anything.  So, if it’s uncertain, say it’s going to be uncertain. If it’s going to be hard, tell them it’s going to be hard. I think false positives destroy morale. 25.50

Ideas/Comments

Crisis management protocols and feedback loops and risk mitigation are pertinent to today’s crisis, but in the past, everybody felt that it was either an economic turn or there was a cycle and we’ll pop out of it. The magnitude of change in board rooms today is quite different. 

If you’ve developed a strong foundation of trust and transparency with your CEO and their team then it’s going to be a lot easier to say: 

“Go do what you got to do. We just need a briefing. We need a one hour. We don’t need a long board meeting, for example, because we know you’re going to do the right thing. We know you’re going to tell us what we need to know, and we know you’re going to tell us the truth about it. We trust you.”

The boards that don’t have that relationship are going to struggle ansd it’s going to highlight this fundamental thing that we talk about all the time about having that relationship with the leader of the company.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Joe: [00:00:05] Hello and welcome to On Boards: a Deep Look at Driving Business Success. Hi, I’m Joe Ayoub and I’m here with my co-host Raza Shaikh. How are you doing today, Raza? 

Raza: [00:00:18] I’m doing very well, Joe. Good to see you, virtually that is. 

Joe: [00:00:22] Good to be with you virtually. 

First to our listeners.

For those of you listening during the time that COVID-19 is still spreading, and many of us in the United States are restricted in what we can do and where we can go, and we’re all trying to understand how to best conduct ourselves, we hope you’re all taking precautions to stay safe. 

On Boards Podcast is about boards of directors and advisors and all aspects of board governance. Twice a month, this is the place to learn about one of the most critically important aspects of any company or [00:01:00] organization: its board of directors or advisors.

Raza: [00:01:04] Joe and I speak with guests about a wide range of topics about boards, what makes them successful or unsuccessful, and how to make your board one of the most valuable assets of your company. 

Joe: [00:01:18] Today’s episode is focused on how boards, board members and the company that they serve are responding to the Coronavirus crisis that we are facing, what action they may consider, and how they’re looking beyond the crisis to think about what the new normal might look like and what that means for your business.

Our guest today specializes in human capital, including board and CEO evaluation, succession planning, strategy implementation, and management effectiveness. In a world where the human capital value chain is becoming broken into many pieces and specialist [00:02:00] functions, he serves as an unbiased and transparent advisor looking for the best answer to leadership challenges.

Raza: [00:02:08] He was previously on the executive committee of the global management and consulting firm, Egon Zehnder, leading its operations and founded its Boston office over 20 years ago. As a former managing partner of Zehnder’s global CEO practice and leader of the firm’s global board practice, he has been a trusted advisor to multinational, public sector and private equity backed organizations seeking guidance on critical boardroom issues for many years. And he is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and Forbes – among many other publications. 

Joe: [00:02:53] He is the founder and CEO of the Davis Partners Group. We’re very, very excited to have George Davis [00:03:00] as our guest today.

Welcome, George. Thanks so much for being with us today as a guest on Onboards. 

George: [00:03:07] Thanks, Joe. Thanks Raza. Great to be here virtually. 

Joe: [00:03:12] First, how are you doing, amidst the uncertainty that is so prevalent in our lives right now? 

George: [00:03:19] Well, Joe, thank you. Personally, I’m fortunate enough to say I’m safe. I’m sequestered, my family’s in good shape and professionally, I thought it’d be quiet, but it’s actually quite busy talking to a lot of the boards that I consult with. 

Joe: [00:03:35] Like you, I had a few days that it was dead silent. I think people were just trying to, this was when it was all coming to the point where we realized that it was a pandemic and a crisis, and then the conversation started again and now with zoom and other virtual platforms. I’m actually meeting with more people than I was last month. . It’s counterintuitive [00:04:00] to me. but you know, it’s good to be in contact with people virtually. 

George: [00:04:04] Well, it’s interesting. The meetings have increased, but actually the topics for me have changed. It’s gone from regular board governance consulting into crisis management and, I’ve either been old enough or fortunate enough to have been around for awhile. So, I have seen this a couple of times and I think a lot of the boards that haven’t gone through this or I’ve had new board members trying to understand how best to operate are seeking some advice.

Joe: [00:04:31] That make sense ,so what do you now seeing in the boards that you’re working with, that are different in the conversations that you’re having? 

George: [00:04:40] Well, what’s interesting now, the conversations are, all the boards are on deck. It’s all hands on deck – everybody’s on a group call. 

I used to have calls with either just a chairman or the nom/pro head or a committee leader, but now everything’s in crisis mode. [00:05:00] And when you shift from a normal pattern or routine and you go into crisis mode, communication patterns and frequencies really change.

Raza: [00:05:09] George, what would make a good board now in this new world? 

George: [00:05:15] What makes a good board now or what makes a good board member now   ?

I  think the real thing that I’m talking to a lot of companies and a lot of directors is:  know your role.  When you’re in a crisis management, really know what the board’s job is and don’t panic and communicate better.

Raza: [00:05:36] I’m going to switch it to a broader context. I know every country is having to deal with this crisis. What can we learn from how international boards have handled this crisis? 

George: [00:05:48] It’s interesting. There’s a lot more commonality than differences.

I think right now on the public company, US boards, there’s full engagement. There’s full duty of [00:06:00] care, rights and responsibilities. There’s full dialogues. 

When you talk about Asian boards, most of them are family run 75% of Asian boards are run by families and they’re not public. And usually there’s more of a patriarchal leader. And plays to kind of the role of the chairman, and they take a much longer view, and I think they are patient, so they understand that things are going to be radically different in the short term. and they’re really trying to understand the implications to their business, in the, in the longer term and in the short run. 

Joe: [00:06:34] So does that mean George, that in those Asian companies, the conversation is different in some way than the conversations you’re hearing in US boards?

George: [00:06:45] The the conversations of the companies that I’m consulting with now are more balanced. It’s impressive that, they go through their normal risk management of where is capital, where is liquidity? but they are able to understand that there may be [00:07:00] permanent change in their business and they’re okay with sacrificing the short term, if there is a longer term view.

Public company boards in the US are still doing the same things. I just think they’ve been, I think the international boards have had a longer term exposure. Covid started back in December in China. And so I think they’ve had a longer turn  at this date and time in April, commerce is slowly getting back to China where it’s rapidly shutting down more so in the US so I think that the pattern of conversations are different. I think the US public companies are still more crisis management. 

Joe: [00:07:37] What does that mean exactly? They’re in crisis management.  What does that mean about the conversations you’re hearing at the boardroom level? 

George: [00:07:45] Well, just, it’s a triage and a successful boards learn to triage of  where are we in terms of capital and liquidity? Where are we in terms of our employees and their risk? And then you get into the conversations of [00:08:00] revenue disruption. A lot of really interesting conversations are disruptions in the supply chain, where a lot of the boards may have known who their tier one suppliers are, but had no clue where tier two or tier three suppliers are. And so there are types of fact -finding, gathering information questions right now. 

Joe: [00:08:21] Interesting.You know, one thing I’ve heard, I’m curious if you’ve heard this, but, I’ve heard a few, board chairs actually say that they have counseled their CEOs to think about their company from a cash perspective rather than a profit perspective.

So instead of saying, how does this decision impact profits. Now think, how is it affecting cash? Because that’s the kind of decision you need to be making now. Have you heard that. What do you think about that? 

George: [00:08:54] I have heard variations of that and it’s very consistent into the, the theory of going from crisis [00:09:00] management, step one to risk management step two, to operating in a new paradigm, step three  You’re echoing kind of the step one let’s just figure out what we have for cash. How do we pay our employees? Where’s the revenue coming from? What do our receivables look like? So, you know everybody’s on deck   the 

Joe: [00:09:33] But I am not talking

decisions that not so much worrying about profit in the short term. Is that something that you’re hearing ?

George: [00:09:47] Yes, and it goes to survival.  You’re not worried about making the income, you’re trying to keep afloat. 

Exactly. 

Raza: [00:09:55] Earlier you talked a little bit about how the board should be operating now. [00:10:00] But, can you talk a little bit about what makes a good board member in this new world? 

George: [00:10:07] Yeah,  one of the things that I try to advise, and I guess just from past experiences, you know, again, through 2001, 2008 and now, I think a really good advice to directors to know your role, understand your duties of oversight, your duties of care.

Listen aggressively, but fight the tendency to grab the wheel. We have a lot of boards now with a lot of experienced people, and the tendency in a panic situation is to grab the wheel. Kind of like my daughter when she’s learning to drive, the worst thing I can do is lean across and try to help her.

 You want to trust your management team, and so a really good board member, understands their role and how to be supportive from a governance and to fight the inclination to become a part of the management team. 

Joe: [00:10:55] Who is it that needs to steady the board to [00:11:00] make sure that that balance between governance and management stays, in the right place? Is it the CEO? Is it the chair? Is it you sometimes? How’s that working? 

George: [00:11:11] It really has to come from the board itself. And I think, Joe, to your point, it’s,  the chair or the lead independent director, depending if the CEO and the chair of the same, because they need to keep the communication loops going and more frequent, both within the full board and within the management teams. And they can play – and behaviors are key, right? People will follow good behaviors and good culture. And if the board starts adopting weird behaviors or panic culture, that’s just going to disrupt everything. 

And if anything, I try to counsel people to say, look. this is when the CEO needs more room to breathe, to be able to pivot, to react and don’t choke him with a hundred questions cause you’re concerned about [00:12:00] something you have not agreed to that the board thinks is a concern. So the, the chair and the l ead director can play a pivotal, you know, a conductor of the orchestra role.

Joe: [00:12:10] Boy  I love that advice. Give your CEO room to breathe. Everyone wants to be helpful, but they have more on their plate now than probably ever before. 

Let me ask you a question. You’ve been, you and I have both been around longer than maybe some other board members – how does this crisis differ from those that we have faced in the past?

George: [00:12:35] The crisis management protocols and feedback loops and risk mitigation are all kind of pertinent to today’s, but everybody felt that it was either an economic turn or there was a cycle on the will pop out of it. And right now the disruptions at the magnitude across multiple continents are going to be astounding. 

[00:13:00] I mean, people, even this morning I was dealing with a industrial company that was worried about food supply and food labor and how do you get the cross-continental, shipment of goods and services? And that’s a six month question, but it’s, it’s disruptive and people didn’t have to think about that before and personal safety and not being able to do normal course of business activities. 

You know, people got on planes in 2008.  So its the magnitude of change  that I’ve seen in the board rooms today.

Joe: [00:13:37] Well, I would just throw out the uncertainty. In the past, there were certain things you could look to as potentially precedent. I mean, everything is, everything is different, but as precedent to what might likely happen in the future.  

In this situation, there is no precedent. There’s really nothing like this in any of our lives .  It’s hard to [00:14:00] know how to plan given the dramatic uncertainty about how long this is going to go on for.  And what things will look like after the crisis has passed. 

Raza: [00:14:11] Yeah, and I was going to ask George that if we think about it, that this is a time when the tide is going out and as they say,  when the tide goes out, you will find out who was swimming without their trunks. George, what do you think once this plays out for the medium term, what are we going to find out? What are we going to learn? Are companies going to find out what kind of board they actually had built and how their management team actually was, you know, doing when,  the going got tough?

What do you think we’ll find when the tide goes out? 

George: [00:14:51] It’s always a humbling moment when the tide does go out. And, Warren buffet was  clairvoyant when he, suggested that.  The interesting [00:15:00] piece is , and you really have to talk a medium term, right? It’s, I think people are going to get into survival mode, then get into recovery mode and then they’ll call them back and say, okay, how did we do?

And some of the areas. Where you can have the Monday morning quarterback is succession planning. You know, did you have the right management teams in when you were there? and , you know, sometimes the CEO and boards get very close to management teams during crisis. There’s many more communications and more feedbacks, there’s more updates. 

You’re gonna understand the board’s skill diversity, the diversity of skills. Sometimes boards. do not have enough regulatory experience, or they put off getting that cybersecurity person or they put off doing something. and, that’s another area. 

The two other areas are, risk management structures. You know, what were the risk manager? You know, some boards I’ve always debated, do I have a risk committee or not have a risk committee?  You’ll find out and it’ll [00:16:00] certainly be stress tested today, whether those are strong or not. 

And then I really think the board feedback loops . If the board was a slightly a little dysfunctional beforehand, and then you throw in the weight of a crisis, those things usually  show quickly.  And then you’ve got to learn, maybe it is important to do some board succession planning. Maybe it’s better to have board appraisals and that have effective ones versus, you know, regulatory compliance type of process. 

Joe: [00:16:31] So, in a way, some of the fundamentals that have always been true will, post crisis, it’ll be clear  how important they were. And I, I’ll talk about one thing in particular. 

We talk about diversity of boards. And I don’t mean just gender diversity. I mean diversity in all ways, diversity of skills, expertise and other attributes. Because the diversity in the boardroom means different perspectives. And [00:17:00] collectively that group of people then is usually stronger. 

That kind of fundamental seems to me like something that would really, really go a long way now for a board. A truly diverse board with a lot of different perspectives is more likely to be able to advise their CEO than maybe a board that wasn’t as well constructed as that.

Don’t you think? That’s probably right?

George: [00:17:26] Yeah. I couldn’t agree more, Joe. And one of the things that I  usually see is, not only the diversity of skills, but sometimes boards build, too technical aboard where they will get what I called, the OneNote piano, director who is very technical in one area. But then when you have to talk about strategy and diversity of, how the company operates in a crisis, and this person only knows to play one tune, that that will stand out for, very quickly to the rest of the group. 

And [00:18:00] we, you know, you really talk about, and, and the problem is that goes right back into board feedback loops with board appraisals.

If you’re not giving feedback to a director to be better. Or to have the honest conversation that perhaps after 15 years you may not be as relevant today when a company needs to pivot into a new area or have much to add when it is in an area.  I’m a strong believer that after this crisis that, board appraisals and board succession planning will become a hot topic. 

Just like CEO succession planning became a hot topic when, the 2008 crisis came. A board succession planning is going to be a topic of, geez, did we have the right people around the table? How long is too long, and what do we need to do about that? 

Joe: [00:18:49] Absolutely right, no question about that.

I think also that the sometimes difficult process of offboarding, which even the best [00:19:00] CEOs and board chairs sometimes find very difficult is going to be easier. Because looking at how the board responded in the crisis is going to give people a a a basis for conversation. The kind of conversation that people should be having with board members all the time, but because of this, maybe that conversation is just going to be easier to have.

George: [00:19:25] Right. I agree. I think it’s going to, it I, it’s funny, I didn’t think of it from that way when you started the question, but I get it. Meaning, yes. Now it’s like, Hey, we just came through this. We need more regulatory. We need more supply chain. ,We’re in a new industry now. You know, we’ve pivoted into something completely different. We need something. 

The other thing that it’s going to come up with. And I, and I worry that because the economics are changing and the economics, I don’t know what 2021 is going to look like economically, but I do worry that people are going to want to sit on boards as a part of their retirement income [00:20:00] and they’re going to, they’ve lost a lot in the marke their businesses are changed. And I saw this after 2008, and a couple of other mini crisises where board members like to stick around because they need that extra cash to supplement whatever they’re doing. And that’s a red flag behavior. When I talk to somebody or they want to be on a board, or someone calls, calls me and says, Hey, I want to get on a boardI want to have my retirement. I want to be on two or three and live on the Cape and do something, you know, and then you’re like, that’s not the reason to be on a board. And that’s a, that’s a huge red flag behavior. And I worry, I think boards should be attuned to that. And CEOs should be attuned to that as well.  

Joe: [00:20:36] Great point George. 

Raza: [00:20:38] George, as you mentioned, nobody’s building boards right now, but as you know that when this will be a little settled and over, we don’t know how long would it will take, but post COVID-19, people will be recomposing and, updating their boards. 

What do you think [00:21:00] would have changed at that time and when you are looking at board candidates, how would you look differently in that post COVID-19 world when now when you will be updating or composing boards?

George: [00:21:16] So it’s interesting. Boards will be different. I don’t know how yet, but they will. But the tenants, what will usually happen is what is the business that they are in and how do you layer the competencies and the matrix skills of the board to where the future of the company is going to be. And with this huge consumer disintermediation that’s going to happen post Covid 19, 

boards are going to have to be in different businesses. Are you in a service industry? Are you a, you know, consumers don’t want to go to store bricks and mortars anymore? Are you in a delivery business? What does that look like? You know, 

Raza: [00:21:56] Are you an e-commerce shop all of a [00:22:00] sudden everybody wants to deliver. 

George: [00:22:04] And if you’re a struggling garment manufacturer that was about to get disintermediated out of, foreign, land making PPE equipment right now, and you’ve retooled yourself, that may be, you know, a short-term, two to three year, survival mode for the company and made the company made pivot and look completely different.

And it’s not to be opportunistic. But it’s to be steely-eyed, sober as you look at business realities of what can you do and how does the consumer model change. Or the business to business model.

Joe: [00:22:40] So, you refer to the matrix of the board and I looked thinking about the kind of charts that I look at about the boards and what you’re looking for in the board. And  I think that’s a great visual for me at least to think about that chart is different. We don’t know how exactly it’s going to be different, but it’s not going to be the same [00:23:00] chart either within the company or just generally what you may be looking for to build a more effective board. I think that’s a great way of looking at it. 

I did want to ask you this.     Audi gap addressed 

It seems like you got to spend, I don’t know, some percentage, 10% of your time,  more for some companies, thinking about where are we going to be next year and what do I need to be doing now to get ready for what is going to be facing me. 

George: [00:23:46] You know what I enjoyed was your, definition of long term was next year.

See, that’s just, that is truthful though, but that [00:24:00] is longterm thinking right now for CEOs.  And I think one of the things that we chat about in the boardroom of the boards that I sit on, and then the boards I advise, which is right now, fight the urge to be false predictions of overconfidence. To be extremely clear in your communications -honesty right now is way more appreciated than anything else from a, and again, it’s that tone and balance. 

So if it’s uncertain, say it’s going to be uncertain. If it’s going to be hard, tell them it’s going to be hard. But I think the worst thing either directors can do, or even CEOs, to their board or to their employees is to be false positives. I think false positives, destroy morale. 

Joe: [00:24:52] Well, I, there’s no question, clear, honest, authentic communication is the gold standard. [00:25:00] No question about that.  

Raza: [00:25:02] I think in the clear communication, George, you were saying, if we’re not going to be open by Easter, then say that we’re not going to be open by Easter.

George: [00:25:12] Exactly.  Especially for new board members, cause there’s a lot of, of new board members that have come on, which is don’t overpredict and don’t get over excited, but don’t panic. But just keep, you know, steely-eyed cold, sober view.

And if you don’t know, tell them they don’t know, cause then everybody feels that you’re in the same boat with them. 

Joe: [00:25:31] Right. Makes sense. 

 Raza: [00:25:33] Going back to the topic of off-boarding, George, that’s something that was, relatively important, but relatively hard to do even pre COVID-19 world. What have you seen in terms of effective ways for boards to be, ou know, up to date and refreshed with the skills, experience, and expertise that they’d need?

George: [00:25:56] I think the conversation is going to be difficult, [00:26:00]  to say goodbye to somebody, especially if you’ve gone through a crisis. If you’ve been in a foxhole with somebody for the last year and a half, the need, there’s, you know, the, the boards.

It’s interesting when I’ve worked with boards on this topic, they’ll say, gosh, I have five or six screaming needs we want on the board. But we want to keep the board the same size or smaller cause they’re more effective. And then I kinda just pause and I’m like, well how does the math work that?

And no one reflects, like everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to go right now. 

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard conversation. But I think as long as you keep the pillars and the guideposts are: what are the competencies and skills that you need, and then you’ll have an honest, self evaluation board evaluation process once a year to say, are we meeting what we say we need?

And if the board gets into a cadence of that discussion, it’ll happen. Just like it did a CEO succession, that used to be a taboo subject and quiet back room [00:27:00] conversations. And now it’s a right up, you know, as soon as the, the CEO joins, we talk about succession planning right after, he’s on board or she’s on board.

And I think. boards have to start doing that themselves on an annual basis and get into a cadence of dialogue as uncomfortable as it might be, but there’s some great boards that do it right now. I think it’s usually the weaker boards that are afraid to have that conversation. 

Joe: [00:27:23] I was going to say exactly, the fundamentals are important and this will highlight how important some of those things are.

And one of those fundamentals is – we always talk about how important it is for the CEO and the board to have trust and transparency, and if you are a board that has had that with your senior management team, your CEO and the his team or his or her team, now it’s really paying dividends because you can really, you know, you said earlier, give your CEO room because he or she needs [00:28:00] it.

If you’ve developed a strong foundation of trust and transparency with your CEO and their team then it’s going to be a lot easier to say, go do what you got to do. We just need a briefing. We need a one hour. We don’t need a long board meeting, for example, because we know you’re going to do the right thing. We know you’re going to tell us what we need to know and we know you’re going to tell us the truth about it. We trust you. The boards that don’t have that relationship, I think are going to struggle, and again, it’s going to highlight this fundamental thing that we talk about all the time: having that relationship with the leader of the company.

George: [00:28:41] Cultures and behaviors matter. Joe, it’s just, you’re just dead on. 

What’s interesting is people, and I’ve worked with some boards and we’re doing assessments for them, or trying to structure how the do the assessments and they’ll do the perfunctory compliance things of the committee structures and stuff.

But no one, and I think, you [00:29:00] know, as a, as we reflect on this conversation, how agile are boards, I mean this whole, the whole thing’s about what’s your board’s culture – are you an agile board. Are you a reflective board? Do you panic? And I can say, all right now, 50% of the boards have no clue what they are. 

As a, as a, if you described every board, how, how, what’s, what’s your culture like, the word you’ll hear is collaborative. But I think people have to start measuring , what’s your board and your thing. So when the next storm comes, you know, you’re better prepared to, to batten down the hatches 

Joe: [00:29:35] And there will be a next storm. 

Raza: [00:29:37] Yeah. And as they say, who you are is what you do. I mean, that’s where, where everything emanates from. How boards operate, interact and guide the company is what it becomes. 

George: [00:29:52] You know, there was a study done by a consulting firm that said, how good are your board appraisal process? And over [00:30:00] 70% said, not good or perfunctory.  And I know doing the board appraisals, you can talk about the general people, and you’ve talked about the strength or weakness of Phil, Mary or Jane, but are you an agile board?

 What are, what are those competencies you want to measure? They don’t have that vocabulary and that’s where I’m like, you know, 50% of the boards don’t have that vocabulary. 

Joe: [00:30:24] That makes sense. 

Raza: [00:30:26] I heard that 80% of drivers believe that they’re above average. 

George: [00:30:31] Yes. Those Sweedish truck drivers and they said, how good are you? 80% they’re in the top 5%!  

Raza: [00:30:50] What should they be thinking, developing or working on, for their skills and expertise? 

George: [00:30:57] You know what, that’s a great question.  I talk to [00:31:00] groups about this often. I think – get educated on the roles and the responsibilities of a director. Don’t view it as a retirement plan. Don’t view it as a resume builder.

But if you really understand the duties of oversight, the duties of care, and your personal risk, brand and legal, and then what you owe the shareholders, the employees, then you’re going to come in eyes wide open on your, it automatically wants you to learn more and it forces you to learn more. And then be open to conversations.

I think, the newer directors are going to be the ones that are going to change this board appraisal conversation. I think they’re the ones going to say, sure. I’m usually closer to management. I’ve probably done it before versus somebody in their early seventies facing retirement age and I know what I’m doing. I don’t need to be told I am what I am. 

Raza: [00:31:54] I was going to ask this like a, kind of off topic question [00:32:00] George, do you think that’s the market size of boards is expanding or shrinking? I, I’ll put this in context. I, from the, since the 2000, the number of public companies is almost half of what it was in 2000.  So it’s just there less number of public companies and hence less number of public boards, private debt. 

The private, enterprise however, has been, you know, expanding and increasing in numbers as capital formation and, you know, venture formation has happened or the past many years. Now with this crisis we do expect that many of the companies won’t survive, unfortunately, but generally, where do you see the trend of, boards in general and board, market for board members going? 

George: [00:32:52] Raza, it’s a great question. And, I was just talking with my partners about this, a couple of days ago. 

What will [00:33:00] we’ll be sure is, you know, the, the IPO markets and things like that, who knows what that’s gonna look like in a year. But one thing will be certain, the board turnover, the velocity of change will be, has always been very high post crisis. Because people realize who they’ve had or what they need to get.

 I also think that private equity once liquidity comes back into the market. They’ve been sitting on billions of dollars of dry powder, but the valuations have been too high. I think the private equity peers are going to be voracious in terms of their appetite to put capital to use, because they also get Kerry. And once they put the money to use, then they’re going to be making money that they lost in the market. 

And, that means board change. And I think we’ve done a lot of conversations on and consulting to private equity shops of how to best optimize boards. And again, different,  characters on competencies are needed on private equity [00:34:00] boards then on say, a US public, large cap board, very different individuals. And the velocity of change will be very high, I think in 2021, 22. 

Joe: [00:34:11] Great. Thanks. That’s great answer. 

George, it’s been great speaking with you. Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope you and your family will continue to be well and stay safe. 

George: [00:34:24] Thanks Joe, and thanks Raza and please everybody stay safe as well. But thank you for the privilege of being on your show. 

Joe: [00:34:31] Thank you all for listening today to On Boards with our special guest, George Davis.

Please stay safe, take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities as best you can. 

Raza, please take care. I hope you and your family continues to be well and stay safe. 

Raza: [00:34:50] Yes, Joe, and we are all safe. Thank you. And I hope you and your families as well. 

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