Book

Book

Behind Boardroom Doors:
Lessons of a Corporate Director

Betsy Atkins, former CEO and experienced corporate director has candid and very practical advice for those who serve on the boards of big, complex enterprises.

This collection of her writing on boards includes the now-legendary “My 16 Days on the HealthSouth Board,” with the details of her brief, turbulent stint as a director of a company facing (but not facing up to) massive criminal fraud charges. She discusses problems from an executive trying to bribe a world leader to a marketing VP’s porn site, traditional concerns of strategy, CEO compensation and succession, shareholder lawsuits, and up-to-the-minute issues of ESG and social media.

Publication Date: June 1, 2017

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM

Testimonials:

This book is a treasure. The ultimate mystery for students, regulators, consultants, lawyers, economists – and even putative and serving members – is what goes on in the Board of Directors. Those who try to rate boards are stymied because all they have access to is public information. Betsy Atkins’ book is what we all have been looking for. It is a compilation of perspectives from the inside by a really engaging narrator and professional director. I have never had such a good insight into what directors ought to do – and, truth be told, I was a director of at least a dozen publicly companies – and the great value they can impart to an enterprise. This is a treat.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director

As lead independent director, Betsy Atkins was responsible for integrating seven new, French board members into our SunPower board. Under her leadership, the new directors came to understand American board oversight, as well as the right level of engagement for them to be contributors and to represent all stakeholders.

Readers of Betsy’s book will be treated to those same leadership lessons. A fine distillation of her writings, Behind Boardroom Doors represents the culmination of Betsy’s many years of experience as a director, committee chair, and industry leader.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director

Betsy Atkins knows corporate governance. I’ve been fortunate to work with her on the boards of several public companies, and watched her solve governance problems we all hope to never encounter at others. With this book she shares the wisdom that made that possible. If you represent shareholders and want to do it well, you must read this book.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director

Having known Betsy for many years as a trusted advisor and board ‘whisperer’, we most recently co-innovated on a groundbreaking initiative at the New York Stock Exchange – FORGE (The Future of Responsibility, Governance and Ethics). Here, I was able to experience a new dimension of Betsy as we assembled and captured on film the cutting-edge experiences from leading Chairmen, CEOs and government Cabinet members. Our journey took us from Cybersecurity to Activism and beyond. Betsy was not only able to bring a formidable network to bear, but was also able to bring her decades of hard fought experience to the table and offer unparalleled perspectives into an array of complex topics.

She is truly a groundbreaking figure in the governance landscape and has earned her title as the ‘Balanchine of the Boardroom’.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director

Betsy Atkin’s walks the talk as a powerful competitive asset for shareholders, providing role model application of a Board Member’s Duty of Care and Duty of Loyalty. As HD Supply’s first Independent Director since taking HD Supply public, Betsy plays an invaluable role bringing innovative thought leadership and creating our spring board to seize major entrepreneurial trends in digitization as we focus on taking friction out of our user experiences. As our Governance Chair Betsy’s practical and agile leadership is enabled through application of rigorous processes with extreme urgency. I am thankful to Betsy for sharing her lessons and for being a tremendous mentor and partner as we harness our HD Supply Board’s valuable business judgement to forward build for our future.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director

Betsy Atkins is the consummate board member and her breath of experience, and knowledge of corporate governance, is unparalleled. I have had the privilege of serving as a fellow director with Betsy on a couple of public company boards, and we have been through a few interesting and unique experiences, including Darden Restaurants where we were both elected in conjunction with an unprecedented shareholder vote to replace the entire board. As chair of the governance committee Betsy took Darden’s worst in class ISS rating to best in class in one year, by collaborating together to lead reforms, balancing the constituencies of activists and non-activist shareholders, and partnering with management as they were going though a restructuring and spinning out a REIT, all in a compressed timeframe.

Behind Boardroom Doors is saturated with real-life examples of good, and bad, corporate governance, and I would highly recommend Betsy’s book as required reading for anyone seeking to gain insights and perspectives on how to better represent shareholders, and provide exemplary board oversight.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director

There is a big difference between the perception and the reality of serving on a public company board. Many investors and outsiders, including prospective first-time board members and board members of small or private companies, might skeptically view board service as nothing more than attending a couple of meetings a year in return for a hefty check. The reality of effective board service is that that it is a lot of work. Yet, successful boards are also careful not to micro-manage company management teams. This book is a primer on how to achieve the right balance and how to be effective. Having served on a board with Betsy, I can attest that she brought a wealth of relevant experience to the role which she has captured in this book. Reading it felt like sitting next to Betsy and benefitting from her “war” stories, learning important lessons from a long career of both executive leadership and board service.

Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director