“The CEO-chair relationship in my view only develops over time, with many opportunities for one-on-one , in-person meetings,” says Harry Pearce, the independent chairman of MDU Resources and director of Marriott. Peter Browning also noted the importance of the executive’s style in director-CEO communication.
The critical element is that both parties need to be committed to the dialogue.
When AgendaWeek asked me for my advice, I noted the bias for open, clear and consistent communication with the CEO. Many insights of the board are communicated to the CEO through the Chair-CEO relationship. Strong board chairs are astute listeners who are able to bring to the CEO any questions or concerns.
“Ultimately, steady and open communication is crucial to establishing a relationship of trust and confidence between the board and CEO,” writes Browning, lead director at Nucor and Acuity Brands and director of Lowe’s Companies and Enpro Industries. “Closer collaboration allows directors to spend their time more efficiently and be better shareholder advocates.”