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Wednesday, 02 June 2010 13:00

Three board trends: power consolidation, technology and employees on boards

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Internal Appointments of Employee Non-CEOs

In the first quarter of 2010, the technology industry witnessed two internal board appointments of non-CEOs.

Compuware announced Robert C. Paul's election to the company's Board of Directors. Paul, 47, has served as President and COO of Compuware since 2008. Since taking this position, he has returned Compuware to revenue and margin growth. Peter J. Carmanos, 66, founder, remains as Compuware's CEO.

RealNetworks' board appointed Kimball, 46, as president and acting CEO after founder Rob Glaser, 47, stepped down as chief executive. Kimball was appointed to the board of directors. Glaser will remain chairman of the Board of Directors.

Sometimes the board position is a consolation prize for an exec who was vying-but not selected-as CEO. This type of appointment increases the power at the next level of management. There are several examples of this trend in the first quarter of 2010.

In Paul's case, Compuware's board is recognizing his increased role and the results of his turnaround efforts as COO. But the CEO spot remains firmly in the hands of the company's founder. In Kimball's case, the board continues to search for a permanent CEO, but appointed him to the board in light of his continuing strategic contributions to the company as interim CEO.

Consolidation of Power

Another noteworthy trend is the consolidation of power of the Chair and CEO roles. There's nothing like an emergency situation to consolidate power into experienced hands.

One recent example is CA Chairman of the Board William McCracken taking over as CEO. Another example is PTC separating the positions of CEO and president and appointing C. Richard Harrison, 53, as Chairman and CEO of the company and James Hepplemann, 44, as president and COO. And Hasso Plattner at SAP is widely viewed as taking the helm although the CEO role is now split into the inside/outside leadership. This is also happening at Xerox where the Chair and CEO roles go to Ursula Burns.

CIOs Land on Software Boards

A third trend worth exploring this quarter is CIOs landing on technology boards. We've seen this at Compuware, EMC, ActivIdentity and Riverbed Technologies in the past few months alone. Compuware actually expanded the board size by one seat to make room for the new executive.

Risk is no longer just financial. Technology risk and a customer's perspective are two driving forces behind this trend, as solutions get increasingly complex, and as organizations increasingly rely on technology to operate.

Read 10445 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 September 2020 15:45
Dora Vell

Dora Vell is the Managing Partner of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston focused on recruiting technology executives and board members. Vell has successfully completed numerous board member and C-level executive searches, including CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and Vice Presidents - at both public and private companies.

Prior to founding the firm in 2005, Vell was a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles' Technology practice for seven years.  Before her career in executive search, she worked at IBM for 11 years, managing software engineering organizations of 100 people and software sales organizations with revenues of $150 million. She has also served as an executive assistant to the CEO of IBM Canada for one year.

Vell holds seven worldwide software patents. She has published several Business of Leadership reports on governance and leadership and has been quoted in numerous articles including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Agenda Week, MSNBC, Mass High Tech, the OPUS for the World Economic Forum, Boston Business Journal, The Globe & Mail, CIO Magazine, and IEEE. She also has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for developmentally handicapped adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

She has received an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Master in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor in Computer Science from Carleton. She has also completed the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s program.

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