IBM (NYSE:IBM) has a very unique board of directors. Not only are most of them either serving or retired CEO’s but they did not job hop as they climbed the rungs of corporate power. Most of the job changes were from one CEO position to another.
Several are still serving and much has been made if a serving CEO has the time to be a good director somewhere else. Be that as it may lets take a look at the current team:
Sidney Taurel 64 a career Eli Lilly executive culminating as CEO and Chair before retiring.
Ken Chenault 61 a career American Express executive culminating in CEO and Chair before retiring.
David Farr 58 a career Emerson Electric executive culminating in CEO and Chair before retiring.
James Owens 67 career Caterpillar executive culminating in CEO and chair before retiring.
Joan Spero 68 Former Ambassador to the United Nations for Economic and Social Affairs. Started off as a career American Express executive and was the US Under-Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs. clearly brings a geo-political slant which IBM finds valuable.
Andrew Liveris 58 career Dow Chemical and now Chair, President and CEO of Dow. does he have the quality time.
W James McNerney 63 career General Electric executive heading up GE Aircraft Engines. Was Chair and CEO of 3M before he snagged the big job at Boeing where he is now Chair, President and CEO.
Shirley Ann Jackson 66 Theoretical Physicist. Formerly at AT&T Bell Labs and former Chair of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Provides a perspective on technology and how it can be regulated.
Alain JP Belda 69 career Alcoa executive until 2010 retirement as chairman. currently a managing director of Warburg Pincus.
William Brody 69 scientist, radiologist, professor of bio-medical engineering. President of Salk Institute. Second prominent scientist on board.
Michael Eskew 63 career executive with United Parcel Services retiring as Chair and CEO.
Lorenzo H Zambrano 68 a career executive with CEMEX and currently the Chair and CEO.
So have we made it clear. Big Blue board of directors is all about the guys who clawed their way to the top as CEO’s. They may understand what it takes to win at the CEO game but do they understand the process of shareholder wealth creation. The perspective while very powerful is very narrow.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.