A Board of Directors Make Up Will Influence Corporate Behavior

In a prior post I promised to take on the conversation about companies and the changes they need to implement to be successful in the future.  Large public companies are my starting point.  In the last three to five years a bit more attention has been given to the make up of the Board of Directors of large public companies.  In the last year the most glaring discussions were held around the Banks, Wall Street type companies and the mortgage industry as a whole.  The absolute heart of the matter is this – Is the Board and the Executive Team in their job for the quick hit and their personal short term gain or are they in their positions and driven by their compensation model to be in their positions for the long term good of the company they are working for?  If everyone on the Board and the Executive Team are from the Harvard University or Stanford University crew team, http://www.harvard.edu, they all may be brilliant, however, they are all trained to row in the same direction all the time.  This is usually not a model for success in business.  It reminds me of the small figures in the back of the family car years ago.  These were the original ‘bobble head dolls’.  Whenever we would go out for a drive the heads bobbed ‘yes’ up and down.  If you were running a large company is that what you want from your Board of Directors?  Just agree and say ‘yes’ all of the time?.  Here is a recent story for you to consider.  Miles White is the CEO of Abbott Labs. http://www.abbott.com .  Abbott Labs is a company that produces a lot of nutritional and weight loss products. Miles White is now on the Board of Directors for McDonald’s. http://www.mcdonalds.com .  So here is my question: who comes out looking better in this deal – Abbott Labs or McDonald’s?  Does Miles White add value to the make up of the menu and food purchases at McDonald’s?  Is McDonald’s able to capitalize on the CEO of Abbott Labs on their Board of Directors as proof they are a ‘healthier’ fast food company?