demands won’t discourage veteran board member from service
James Kegley Photography
advisory board member and public affairs consulting expert Margery
Kraus has seen the role of director shift during a year in which
boards — fairly or unfairly — were often left holding
the bag after some high-profile corporate meltdowns.
“Before the events of last year, I think
people understood that boards existed, but there wasn’t
really this focus on the governance process,” Kraus
says. “People knew that boards were there to help give
direction to the company, but the landscape was dominated
by the CEO.”
Kraus, president and CEO of Washington, D.C-based
global consulting firm APCO Worldwide, says she is concerned
that today’s climate of reform and increased scrutiny
might discourage talented people from board service.
“One of the things that might happen,
and I hope it doesn’t, is that it’s going to get
hard to attract high quality directors,” she says. “As
people feel that the liability factor gets way out of control,
companies will have more difficulty getting good people to
But Kraus insists increased scrutiny won’t
dissuade her from the important task of providing outside
guidance to both for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations.
In addition to her role on the Dean’s Advisory Board,
she serves on several other boards, including those of Northwestern
Financial Network, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation and
the Meridian International Center.
Kellogg’s advisory board, Kraus says,
provides a critical link between the school and the “real
world,” connecting Kellogg with information about market
conditions and current issues in the business world.
“We all aspire to give something back
by being on boards, and add our individual knowledge to the
larger group and make a difference. When it’s a not-for-profit
board, this is probably the highest motivation.”