Monday, November 30, 2009

Fred Joseph: What a Board Is For

Fred Joseph, who "helped to create the junk bond business as chief executive of Drexel Burnham Lambert," as noted in the New York Times obit, died on Nov. 27 at the age of 72.

I had invited Mr. Joseph, then co-head of investment banking at Morgan Joseph & Co. Inc., to contribute to a "Best Board Advice" compendium piece that I was including in the 30th anniversary edition of Directors & Boards. The theme of this special issue, published in 2006, was "Wisdom of the Ages." Mr. Joseph's piece of advice certainly was a worthy one. Here is what he offered up:

"A tempting as it may be to impress your friends, a board is not merely for show and tell. As difficult as it is to share your concerns with them, a board should be used to help you make your most important and stressful decisions."

Well said, Mr. Joseph. He passes on at a much too young age. But this insight is a timeless one.

[Photo courtesy of Time Life]