Monday, 10 March 2008

Updated: Role of Chairman in Pre-Revenue Tech companies

The role of the chairman in RisingStars companies is a little different from the standard in a small company due to the emphasis on growth and support of a growing team.

Updated version, also I've added the highlights to emphasise particular areas that are unusually important in a pre-revenue technology company.

Team Building
  • Contributing to the management development plan
  • Mentoring and support for the CEO- acting as their private sounding-board
  • Leading the process of recognising when there is a need to change CEO and to lead the search for the new CEO.
  • Making sure that team changes get recognised early and supporting the CEO in taking quick and early action
  • Monitoring the executive team's relationships and bringing action if conflicts arise
  • Monitoring the performance of the executive team and actioning required change
  • Providing discreet feedback and guidance for the CEO
  • Conducts formal CEO appraisal/performance review
  • Assists CEO in selection of exec board members
Financial Governance
  • Ensuring financial reporting is regular, clear and appropriate
  • Taking a lead role in negotiating remuneration
  • In the absence of a dedicated FD, having oversight of the accounting process
  • Recognising future cash requirements and ensuring the board deals with cashflow planning well in advance
  • Leading on the development of the company strategy
  • Ensuring that investors interests are properly represented by the strategic options presented to the board
  • Mentoring the CEO on the strategic development
  • Being the first to spot a dead-end market entry strategy and to call time on it.
  • Spotting well in advance when fundraising is likely to be required; making sure there's always 3 months cash in the bank and that fundraising starts as soon as there's less than 12 months of visibility
  • Attending many/most/all fundraising meetings and helping prevent it taking over the CEO's time and to improve the level of feedback.
  • Providing a second voice in fundraising discussions
  • Opening contacts for fundraising and corporate events
  • Providing independent feedback to investors on fundraising comments
  • Gathering feedback from investors on their view of the exec team
Representing Shareholders Interests
  • At all times to remain clearly focused on the interests of shareholders over management
  • Providing independent feedback to investors on the state of company and management
  • Ensuring transparency of information flow between management and shareholders
Proceedings at Board Meetings
  • Collects input from all directors and management on the board agenda - this facilitates surfacing difficult issues.
  • Creates the board meeting agenda with the CEO.
  • Ensures report(s) have been issued well in advance of the meeting
  • Runs the agenda of the board meeting, holding items to schedule or extending the time spent on them if the consensus is to spend more then the appointed time on an item. This frees the CEO to focus on content and allows the Chairman to keep the meeting on track.
  • Gathering input from, and providing feedback to, shareholders from the board meetings.