2020 Private Boards of the Year award winners announced

By April Hall
Photo 1: 

Six private company boards will be honored for their business governance excellence at the upcoming 2020 Private Company Governance Summit on September 15-17, 2020, live online.

The boards of these companies were selected for recognition:

  • David S. Lapine Company, Inc.
  • The Hussey Seating Company
  • Draper and Kramer
  • Quarles Petroleum, Inc.
  • Midmark Corporation
  • MacLean-Fogg Company

Six private companies are being honored for governance excellence demonstrated by their fiduciary or advisory boards. The awards — to be presented at the upcoming online 2020 Private Company Governance Summit on September 15, 2020 — honor private company boards that best serve their stakeholders (owners, shareholders, employees and community) with best practices in their structure and performance. 

The awards were created to recognize private companies that go above and beyond legal governance requirements and commit to the highest levels of governance, whether through fiduciary or advisory boards. The awards honor the performance of the board as a whole.

The fifth annual Private Company Board of the Year Awards are presented by Private Company Director, Directors & Boards and Family Business magazines. The awards recognize fiduciary boards (those tasked with protecting shareholders, with the authority to vote on decisions that are binding for company management) as well as advisory boards (more informal boards that have no binding regulatory role, but often a significant strategic role). Fiduciary board awards were broken down by company revenues and ownership type.

The Private Company Governance Summit — now in its eighth year — is the only national conference focused on the unique governance challenges for owners, shareholders, directors and advisory board members of closely held, family-owned and private equity-owned companies.  

Dozens of private boards of directors were nominated for the 2020 Private Boards of the Year award, but six stood out for their diligence, standards and outcomes.

David S. Lapine Company, Inc.
Stamford, Conn.
T
ype of Private Board: Advisory
Approximate Annual Company Revenues: Under $100 million      
Company Ownership: Family-owned

Governance highlights include:

  • Board guidance that resulted in double-digit EBITDA growth in 2018 and 2019.
  • Board guidance through the company’s first-ever acquisition.
  • Leadership through financial reorganization of the company.
  • A finance committee used for a “deeper dive” into monthly financials and annual budgeting exercises.

The Hussey Seating Company
North Berwick, Maine
Type of Private Board: Fiduciary
Approximate Annual Company Revenues: Under $100 million      
Company Ownership: Family-owned

Governance highlights include:

  • Board leadership through the loss of the company’s family CEO/chairman and the transition to a non-family CEO for the first time in the seven-generation, 185-year-old company’s history.
  • A majority independent board (four independent, three family members).
  • Three committees (personnel, audit and nominating, the first two of which are composed of independent directors only).
  • A strong focus on sustainability.

Draper and Kramer
Chicago, Ill.
Type of Private Board: Fiduciary
Approximate Annual Company Revenues: $100 million-$350 million
Company Ownership: Family-owned

Governance highlights include:

  • A majority independent board (six independent; three family, will go back to two family in 2021; and the CEO).
  • The board facilitated a CEO transition, provided counsel and suggested benchmarks that improved company performance, and helped improve family engagement.
  • Three standing committees (audit and valuation, compensation and management development, and governance and nomination), in addition to ad hoc committees when necessary.
  • Regular evaluations for committees and the board as a whole.

Midmark Corporation
Dayton, Ohio
Type of Private Board: Fiduciary
Approximate Annual Company Revenues: $350 million-$1 billion 
Company Ownership: Family-owned

Governance highlights include:

  • A majority independent board (seven independent, CEO and family chair).
  • Guidance through the 100-year-old family company’s transition to its first non-family CEO.
  • Board transition that includes retiring board members and incoming board members serving on the board together for a year.
  • An associate director program for one member of the fifth generation to be in the boardroom as a non-voting director.

Quarles Petroleum Inc.
Fredericksburg, Va.
Type of Private Board: Fiduciary
Approximate Annual Company Revenues: $350 million-$1 billion 
Company Ownership: Family-owned

Governance highlights include:

  • A majority independent board (four independent, two family and the CEO).
  • Board refreshment encouraged through term limits and mandatory retirement.
  • Three standing committees (compensation, audit and governance) chaired by independent directors.
  • Independent directors’ mentorship of fourth-generation family members on career goals and next-generation development in ownership and governance knowledge.

MacLean-Fogg Company
Mundelein, Ill.
Type of Private Board: Fiduciary
Approximate Annual Company Revenues: More than $1 billion 
Company Ownership: Family-owned

Governance highlights include:

  • Evolved the board to serve as engaged, objective counsel to the fourth-generation-CEO.
  • A majority independent board (seven non-family and three family).
  • Three committees: finance and audit, compensation and talent, and governance.
  • Separated assets and governance of the operating company from other family concerns by establishing an embedded family office.

Other Related Articles

  • Family giving during COVID-19

    Over the past several months, we have heard time and again: We are all in this together. Truly, not a single person in our country has been unaffected by COVID-19. Whether you or someone you know is a...

  • Laird & Co. toasts the 10th generation

    When you’re the ninth generation leading a family business that served George Washington, you don’t want to be the one who screws it up, says Lisa Laird Dunn, executive vice president and global a...

  • Redefining ownership as shareholder stewardship

    Thirty years ago, I was faced with a typical family business crisis. My father, the founder of our family-owned industrial fabrics company, Seaman Corporation, had passed away prematurely at the age o...

  • Family office decision factors

    Advisers offer these suggestions for families considering a single-family office (SFO):• Solicit feedback from the family about potential benefits. Is the primary purpose to bring the family assets ...