How to Become a Director of the Year

16 July 2014 Manufacturing Industry Advisor Blog

Manufacturing companies and their boards of directors have responded to new challenges to increase productivity, reduce costs, better manage data, and develop new and better products. To recognize the contributions of outstanding directors to their boards, companies, and shareholders, last year Foley established Director of the Year Awards for outstanding directors at public and private companies.

The boardroom is no stranger to watching technological advancements revolutionize the business model. And great directors provide value to a company, and its management team, through informed governance and decision making. Even in the face of sweeping changes, boards of directors are charged with ensuring the company maintains its integrity while delivering value to its shareholders.

Nominations are currently being accepted for this year’s award and are due August 1. Winners of the Director of the Year award for a public and private company will be recognized on November 5th at Foley’s National Directors Institute Executive Exchange reception in Chicago. Last year’s award winners represented outstanding manufacturing companies, Oshkosh Corporation and Pelican Products.

Richard Donnelly, chairman of Oshkosh Corporation’s board, and Marie Meisenbach Graul, a Pelican Products board member and audit committee chair, were both honored last year as the Public Company and Private Company Directors of the Year, respectively.

Mr. Donnelly and Ms. Graul, along with countless other directors, exemplify a long-standing basic corporate governance best practice: that each director provide demonstrable added value to the management and operation of the company.

This year’s Director of the Year Award judges include:

Mary Brevard
Executive Director, Inforum BoardAccess

Richard Donnelly
Chairman of the Board, Oshkosh Corporation
2013 DOY Public Company Award Recipient

Michele Hooper
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Directors’ Council
Audit Committee Chair, PPG Industries, Inc.
Nominating and Governance Committee Chair, UnitedHealth Group
Board Member, Center for Audit Quality

Gail Lione
Director, Sargento Foods
Director, Badger Meter
Director, The F. Dohmen Company

Marie Meisenbach Graul
Audit Committee Chair and Independent Director, Pelican Products
2013 DOY Private Company Award Recipient

Rolf Richter
President and Chief Executive Officer, Natural American Foods

John Rowe
Chairman Emeritus, Exelon Corporation

Steve Scogna
Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Community Healthcare

Mary Ellen Stanek
Managing Director and Director of Asset Management, Robert W. Baird & Co.
Chief Investment Officer, Baird Advisors

Carol Ward
Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Mondelez International, Inc.

Jim Williams
President and Chief Executive Officer, International Legwear Group

Desirable qualitative attributes for a Director of the Year nominee include:

  • Skills, experience, and perspectives that add strategic value. A director helps enhance the company’s enterprise value and help achieve its strategic objectives.
  • Strategic planning/succession planning expertise. A director understands and makes contributions that support the company’s big-picture objectives and strategic mission.
  • Practical business counsel and judgment. Without being overbearing, a director constructively challenges the company’s management and asks insightful questions.
  • Strong analytical ability. A director assimilates a remarkable amount of information in order to efficiently identify the key points.
  • Multidisciplinary approach to problem solving.
  • Listening skills. No one likes a “know-it-all.”
  • Good communicator. After all, a board of directors is a team.
  • History of achievements that reflect a record of high performance, achievement and success. One cannot just “talk the talk,” he or she must “walk the walk.”

If you know someone who deserves to be named a Director of the Year, please submit a nomination. Nominate a Director of the Year today. Submissions are due by August 1.

Also, learn more about Foley’s National Directors Institute Executive Exchange on November 5-6, 2014 in Chicago.

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