In the years since the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley and the adoption of revised listing standards by the stock exchanges, most U.S. public companies have appointed one of their directors to serve as a "lead" or "presiding" director, while some boards have appointed an independent director to serve as non-executive chairman of the board. The responsibilities of these positions vary significantly from company to company, ranging from seemingly routine administrative functions to roles that can profoundly affect corporate strategy and operations. Looking beyond the formal duties of the new board leaders, experience shows that some lead directors have assumed wide-ranging and important roles within their companies.
Against this background, King & Spalding and Tapestry Networks created the Lead Director Network (LDN) in June 2008. The LDN brings together a select group of lead directors, presiding directors, and non-executive chairmen from many of America's leading companies for private discussions about how to improve the performance of their corporations and earn the trust of their shareholders through more effective board leadership.
Thought leadership created in LDN meetings is captured and published to a wider audience in ViewPoints, a report that is issued following each LDN meeting. The most recent ViewPoints issue covers the following topic:
Issue 27 (November 2016), Incorporating share buybacks in board-driven strategy. LDN members met to discuss capital return to shareholders. In addition, LDN members received an update from King & Spalding on the U.S. Supreme Court's business docket.
To view all prior issues of ViewPoints, click here.
The LDN comprises independent lead directors, presiding directors, and non-executive chairmen, typically representing complex, global enterprises. LDN membership currently includes directors who serve in these capacities on the boards of the following companies:
Archer Daniels Midland
The Coca-Cola Company
Credit Suisse Group
Ford Motor Company
The Home Depot
Performance Food Group
United Parcel Service