Boards used to seek bigtime CEOs such as Jack Welch. Now? Asian American women with tech skills such as Clara Shih (right).
Welcome to the world of a Fortune 500 director. It ain't what it used to be. The company described is real but doesn't want its board's routine disclosed for security reasons, which only begins to tell you how the director's world has changed. No one used to care when or where the board met -- or if it met at all. "Meetings, historically, long ago, were dog-and-pony shows," says Charles Elson, a director of HealthSouth, a former director of Sunbeam, AutoZone, and other companies, and chief of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. Twenty years ago board service was the cushiest gig in corporate America. A morning of presentations by management followed by a long, liquid lunch, perhaps some cigars, and there you were. "It was a place for glory, for people who were already recognized," says a longtime board consultant.
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