Institute for Enterprise Ethics
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By SuperUser Account on 12/2/2011 3:24 PM
By Dr. Dan Sweeney
Director, Institute for Enterprise Ethics

William Clay FordRecent years have witnessed the proliferation of a new position simultaneously in the board room and in the executive suite – the “Executive Chairman” – a chairman of the board who is not an independent director but is an employee of the company. Among those corporations with such a position are Ford, William Clay Ford; Google, Eric Schmidt; LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman; and Viacom, Sumner Redstone. The latest corporation to join the crowd of those with an “Executive Chairman” is HP, Raymond Lane – no surprise here as they have never been viewed as a paragon of corporate governance.

So, what exactly is an “executive chairman” and why are some corporations appointing them? The position appears to be an attempt to get around the perception that having a single executive with both the CEO title as well as the chairman of the board title reflects poorly on the governance of the corporation.
 
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