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The CEO's Boss: Tough Love in the Boardroom

William M. Klepper

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May, 2010
Cloth, 192 pages, 21 illus., 20 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-14988-4
$29.95 / £19.95

In order to avoid another Enron, WorldCom, or Tyco, company directors have assumed a bold and independent role in the boardroom, monitoring the actions and day-to-day operations of the CEO. This dramatic shift has created a new dynamic, one that requires careful negotiation from both parties to get the job done. Giving directors, executives, investors, and stakeholders the tools to make this relationship work, William M. Klepper describes the best techniques for building a productive partnership and establishing a plan of action for a variety of businesses and settings.

Klepper, an executive educator, has worked with AT&T, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Sun Microsystems, and a host of other corporations. He knows what makes a healthy partnership between a board and its CEO and the consequences of a bad fit. In this book, he details the eight practices of successful executives, such as facilitating innovation, motivating change, and developing leadership skills, and he explains what directors need to evaluate, such as working style, social behavior, and the handling of stress, before they commit to hiring a CEO.

The most critical element is the social contract, in which directors and their CEOs agree to be transparent, continually reassess their company's risk, maintain core company values, and make a commitment to their stakeholders. These include employees, shareholders, customers, and the community. In this essential volume, Klepper encourages directors to embrace their independence, and he teaches executives to value tough love.

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About the Author

William M. Klepper is a professor of management at the Columbia Business School, where he teaches a course on executive leadership and serves as the academic director of executive education. He is also the faculty director of Columbia University's partnership with the Outstanding Directors Exchange (ODX) and has served as vice president of the College of New Jersey, president of his school board, president of his county legislature, and mayor of his township. His most recent publication is What CEOs Have Yet to Learn.

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