Was someone else? as shocked as I am by the content of Connie Loizos’ recent article, Coming out of COVID, investors are losing their taste for board meetings? The stories and quotes in the article about investors dropping their interest and attending board meetings, failing to show up, sending the junior associate to cover, etc. are eye-opening and alarming.
The reasons mentioned make sense such as overextended investors, Zoom fatigue and novice drivers. Connie’s comment that “privately, VCs admit they don’t add much value to boards” is pretty funny to read as a CEO who has heard a ton of investors talk about how much value they add to boards (although the good to do adds a lot of value!).
For the most part, everything about the content of this article just pissed me off.
Disconnected or dysfunctional boards aren’t just bad for CEOs and LPs; they are bad for everyone. If the world has truly become a place where the board meeting is nothing more than a distraction for CEOs and investors thinking it’s a tax they can’t afford, then it’s time to hit the reset button on boards and board meetings .
Here are four things to do with this reset:
Investors should do their job well or quit
Disconnected or dysfunctional boards aren’t just bad for CEOs and LPs; they are bad for everyone.
The argument that investors closed too many deals during the pandemic so they don’t have time now is particularly silly, as the pandemic reduced the amount of time it took VCs to spend on individual board meetings as well. I used to have four personal board meetings a year with directors who traveled for the meetings, had dinners, spent time with the team, and attended committee meetings.
Today, boards are lucky enough to have one in-person meeting per year (more on that later). And since everything else takes less time and there is little throughput, every VC should have doubled the time they spend on board meetings.
Sitting on a board after an investment is central to an investor’s role. They have obligations to the founders they support and to the LPs they represent, as their primary function is to “find deals, execute deals and manage the portfolio.”
If they run out of time for the third job, they should admit it to both founders and LPs before stepping down. If a VC can’t be bothered to focus on their investments and adding value, they must work with the company to find their replacement.
CEOs should take their role as board leader seriously