What Is A Board President?

Board President / Board Presidents

A board president (often called the chair of the board) is a company individual elected or appointed to function as the leader of the board of directors. The board president is responsible for driving the course of the organisation. They work closely with the CEO and other company officers to make sure their organisation stays true to its primary mission. In small companies, the roles of board president and CEO are often fulfilled by the same person.

Duties of a board president

The board president has a high level of responsibility in an organisation, second only to the CEO. Their duties include:

Leadership and decision-making

The board president provides leadership to the company’s officers and employees. They act on behalf of the board and often have the final say in most company decisions. They oversee the organisation’s activities and programs, making sure they comply with its mission.

Chairing meetings and setting agendas

The board president chairs every board meeting. They also help develop agendas and establish priorities for both board and executive committee  meetings.

Representing the board and organisation to stakeholders

Developing successful relationships with the organisation’s donors, collaborators, vendors and stakeholders is a vital aspect of the role. Board presidents also represent the board of directors and advocate the organisation’s mission to the stakeholders.

Overseeing board committees and their operations

A board president recommends members for the board and committees and appoints committee chairs. They make sure the board and committees act according to board policies.

Qualifications of a board president

The qualifications of board presidents differ from one organisation to the next. Generally, these include:

Relevant educational background

Board presidents are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a field relevant to their organisation. Usually, a master’s degree or doctorate is needed.

Work experience related to the organisation

They should have at least ten years of professional experience in a leadership position with demonstrated accomplishments in business or their organisation’s industry.

Strong leadership and communication skills

Exemplary oral and written communication skills are a must to be a successful board president. The individual should be a natural at public speaking.

Ability to work collaboratively with other board members

A board president must exhibit exceptional team-working and diplomatic skills. They should excel in cultivating relationships and facilitating agreement among diverse individuals.

Term and Election of a Board President

The specifications of the term and election of board presidents include the following:

  • Length of term: The length of the term of a board president is typically written in the company’s bylaws and tends to be different for each organisation. A typical tenure is five to ten years.
  • The election process: The board of directors chooses an appropriate board candidate to serve as their president by voting in official meetings.

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