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Board of Directors

A group governing and directing a company.

Business Glossary provided by


The board of directors is responsible for the broad governance and oversight of a company. It represents the interests of the shareholders and makes decisions at the highest level, including setting company policies, overseeing executive performance, and ensuring the company's compliance with laws and regulations. The board is instrumental in strategic decision-making, including declarations of dividends, compensation plans, and the approval of major corporate actions. The effectiveness of a board can significantly impact the success and governance of the organization.

Context of Use:

The term "Board of Directors" is used extensively in corporate law, finance, and business management. It refers to the elected group that serves as the highest governing authority within a corporate structure in both private companies and public companies.


The primary purpose of the Board of Directors is to ensure that the company is managed in a way that achieves its strategic goals and protects the long-term interests of its shareholders. This includes responsibilities such as setting broad policies, supporting executive leadership, and overseeing the company’s overall performance.


A typical example involves the Board of Directors at a major publicly traded company, where the board meets quarterly to review financial performance, approve major expenditures, assess strategic direction, and review recommendations from various committees like the audit committee. They ensure compliance with legal standards and work to enhance shareholder value. Publicly Traded companies usually file a proxy statement where you are able to find information on proposals for new additions to the board of directors, information on directors' salaries, information on bonus and options plans for directors, and any declarations made by the company's management.

Related Terms:

  • Corporate Governance: The system of rules, practices, and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. More on Corporate Governance

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): The highest-ranking executive in a company whose primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations.

  • Audit Committee: A subgroup of the Board of Directors that is responsible for overseeing the financial reporting and disclosure process. Audit Committee Overview

  • Fiduciary Duty: A legal obligation of one party to act in the best interest of another. The members of the board are required to act with fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Understanding Fiduciary Duty


  1. What is the role of the board in corporate governance? The board oversees the company’s practices and procedures to ensure accountability, fairness, and transparency in the company's relationship with its stakeholders. This involves direct oversight of the executive team, setting broader strategic aims, and ensuring corporate integrity.

  2. How often does the board of directors meet? While this can vary widely depending on the company, most boards meet quarterly to review company performance and address ongoing strategic needs. Emergency meetings may also occur as needed.

  3. What is the difference between a supervisory board and an executive board? In some countries, companies have two-tier boards: the supervisory board oversees the executive board, which manages day-to-day operations. The supervisory board does not engage in daily management but focuses on general oversight and policy-making.

  4. How are members of the board chosen? Board members are typically nominated by a nominating committee and elected by the shareholders during the annual general meeting.

  5. What is executive compensation and how is it determined? Executive compensation refers to how top executives are paid, which can include salaries, bonuses, shares, options, and other company benefits. It is typically determined by the compensation committee of the board based on performance metrics, company goals, and industry standards.

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