Thursday, January 16, 2020
The Role of Separation
Appointing a mission-wise Chair: Role separation resolves a potential conflict of interest arising from the fact that the CEO is the primary manager of a company and the chairman is the head of the board, which oversees management (Hodgeson, 2014). Separating the roles strengthens the system of checks and balances and enhances the appearance of board independence. Splitting the roles is widely considered to be a best practice in corporate governance, though its benefits remain controversial in some circles, notably in parts of the mainstream, corporate America. (Tonello, 2011). The mission relevance of the chair's role has long been recognized in the non-profit sector where facilitating mission delivery, through managing and organizing the governing board's mission-related work, has always been central to the chair's role (Akpeki, 2006). Appointing a new board chair, then, may come to be seen as a potential milestone for mission preservation in social entrepreneurships. The chair's role is central to successful corporate governance, and the influence of the person fulfilling this role can be critical to the maintenance of mission within thriving social entrepreneurship. It stands to reason that, through choosing a chair who understands and backs the social mission, organizations can strengthen mission stewardship in the boardroom and thus help avert mission drift. Commitment to carrying the torch of the mission is only a starting point for a chair. The chair's skills, personality, and behavior will determine his or her effectiveness. A capable chair should come with first-hand knowledge of the sector or industry the business is operating in, proven leadership skills and an understanding of board process. In social entrepreneurships, the chair will also need a firm grasp of mission in the practical sense, experience in delivering mission in a business context and a commitment to ensuring that mission has its place in board discussion and decision-making at every level (Shekshnia ; Rowley, 2014). A mission-capable chair will know how to keep the mission on the agenda, how to generate productive group discussion around mission and how to foster a positive board culture with a shared sense of purpose.