Why These 15 High-Demand Corporate Directors Matter
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Why These 15 High-Demand Corporate Directors Matter To The S&P 500–And You

corporate directors
Donna James

Who do S&P 500 companies seek when they need the best connected and most strategic minds on their corporate boards? A good number of them have turned to our 2017 BLACK ENTERPRISE Registry of Corporate Directors.

If corporate boards “should be a reflection of broader society” as retiring American Express Chairman Kenneth Chenault told BE in an exclusive interview this month, then the S&P 500’s track record has been abysmal. Roughly 60% of the companies on the index—303 out of 500—have an African American corporate director. Chenault asserts that the conundrum was that CEOs must be held accountable for this lack of boardroom diversity but most corporate boards that serve as watchdogs of such activity tend to absent of color as well.

The fact of the matter is that any S&P 500 company would be fortunate to have any BE Registry member as one of its guardians of shareholder value. However, we decided to take a look at the most prolific of the group—15 directors that serve on three or more such bodies, deliberating over major strategic issues and serving on committees for corporations operating in disparate sectors.

In a past interview with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, we found that she simultaneously grappled with a range of issues—big data and high-performance computing (IBM); transportation and logistics (FedEx); energy efficiency (Public Service Enterprise Group); and biotechnology and life sciences (Medtronic). As such, Jackson says she’s adroitly handled the complexities and demands of multiple boards due to the overlap with RPI’s “signature thrust areas.” In describing her enthusiasm for corporate governance, she asserts: “In lieu of what some people would call relaxation, I enjoy these things.”

Why should these board members and others on our Registry hold any significance to you? As stated in our previous reports on corporate governance, these business leaders touch some aspect of how most of us live and work, charged with the fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder value by making decisions—everything from acquisitions and divestitures to executive compensation and corporate layoffs, among others—that will ultimately maximize earnings, dividends, and the stock price. As such, these corporate watchdogs ensure the continued viability of American industry, including trillions of assets and millions of managers, rank-and-file employees, small businesses, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders.

Moreover, we hold to the same contention that the critical factors for 21st-century competitiveness—continuous innovation, shifting demographics and gaining a significant share of black consumer and business markets—mean corporations can ill afford to operate without the presence of African Americans in the oversight process.

Let’s find out the other prolific registry members who serve on three or more boards and their responsibilities:

Rodney C. Adkins

Positions: President, 3RAM Group L.L.C.; Former SVP, Systems and Technology Group< IBM

S&P 500 Boards:

UPS: Chair of Risk Committee; Member of Compensation Committee

PayPal Holdings (Sept. 2017; after closing of 2017 BE Registry): Member, Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee

 PPL Corp.: Audit Committee; Finance Committee

W.W. Grainger Inc.: Board Affairs & Nominating Committee; Compensation Committee

Anthony K. Anderson

Position: Retired Vice Chair & Managing Partner, Midwest Region, Ernst & Young, L.L.P.

S&P 500 Boards:

Avery Dennison Corp.: Audit & Finance Committee; Governance & Social Responsibility Committee

Marsh & McLennan Cos.: Audit Committee; Corporate Responsibility Committee

Exelon Corp.: Chair of the Audit Committee; Member of Finance & Risk Committee; Generation Oversight Committee

Brian P. Anderson

(Image: thecaq.org)


Position: Former EVP, Finance & CFO, Office Max

S&P 500 Boards:

W.W. Grainger Inc.: Audit Committee; Board Affairs & Nominating Committee

Stericycle Inc.: Chair of Audit Committee

PulteGroup Inc.: Chair of the Audit Committee; Member of Nominating and Governance Committee

James A. Bell

Position: Former EVP, CFO & Corporate President, The Boeing Co.

Apple Inc.: Audit Committee

JPMorgan Chase & Co.: Chair of Audit Committee

Dow Chemical Co.: Chair of Audit Committee; Member of Governance Committee

Mary K. Bush


Position: Chairman, Bush International LLC

S&P 500 Boards:

T Rowe Price Group Inc.: Executive Compensation and Management Development Committee; Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee

Marriott International: Audit Committee; Compensation Policy Committee

Discover Financial Services: Nominating and Governance Committee; Risk Oversight Committee

Kenneth I. Chenault

Kenneth I. Chenault: Chairman & CEO, American Express – Board: IBM Corp.


Position: Chairman & CEO, American Express Co.

American Express Co.: Executive Chairman

Procter & Gamble: Audit Committee; Compensation & Leadership Development Committee

IBM Corp.: N/A

Leonard S. Coleman Jr.


Positions: Former Senior Advisor, Major League Baseball; Former Chairman, Arena Co.

S&P 500 Boards:

Electronic Arts: Nominating and Governance Committee; Compensation Committee

Hess Corp.: Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee; Environmental, Health and Safety Subcommittee

Omnicom Group: Lead Director; Chairman of Executive Committee; Member of Compensation Committee; Governance Committee

Roger W. Ferguson Jr.

(Roger Ferguson. Image: Flickr)

Position: President & CEO, TIAA

S&P 500 Boards:

Alphabet Inc.: Audit Committee

General Mills Inc.: Finance Committee; Corporate Governance Committee

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.: Compensation Committee

Linda R. Gooden

Linda Gooden

Positions: Retired EVP, Information Systems & Global Solutions, Lockheed Martin Corp.

S&P 500 Boards:

The Home Depot Inc.: Audit Committee; Leadership Development & Compensation Committee

General Motors Co.: Audit Committee; Risk Committee

ADP: Chair of Corporate Development and Technology Advisory Committee; Member of Audit Committee

Shirley Ann Jackson

Position: President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

S&P 500 Boards:

IBM Corp.: Chair of Directors and Corporate Governance Committee; Member of Executive Committee

Medtronic plc: Audit Committee; Quality Committee; Technology and Valuation Committee

FedEx Corp.: Audit Committee; Compensation Committee; Nominating & Governance Committee

Public Service Enterprise Group: Chair of Corporate Governance Committee; Member of Executive Committee; Fossil Generation Operations Oversight Committee; Nuclear Generation Operations Oversight Committee; Organization and Compensation Committee

Donna A. James

Donna James

Position:  Managing Director, Lardon & Associates L.L.C.

Boston Scientific Corp.: Chair, Executive Compensation and Human Resources Committee; Nominating and Governance Committee

Marathon Petroleum Corp.: Chair of Audit Committee; Member of Compensation Committee

L Brands Inc.: Chair of Audit Committee; Member of Nominating & Governance Committee; Special Committee on Inclusiveness (Inclusion Committee)

William E. Kennard

William E. Kennard: Co-founder & Nonexecutive Chairman, Velocitas Partners L.L.C.- Board: AT&T Inc.

Positions: Co-Founder & Non-Executive Chairman, Velocitas Partners L.L.C.; Former Ambassador, European Union

S&P 500 Boards:

AT&T Inc.: Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee; Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Committee

Duke Energy Corp.: Corporate Governance Committee; Finance and Risk Management Committee

Ford Motor Co.: Finance Committee; Nominating & Governance Committee; Sustainability & Innovation Committee

MetLife Inc.: Chair of Investment Committee; Member of Finance and Risk Committee; Executive Committee

Lionel L. Nowell III

Position: Former SVP & Treasurer, PepsiCo Inc.

S&P 500 Boards:

Bank of America Corp.: Audit Committee; Corporate Governance Committee

British American Tobacco plc* (Reynolds American Inc.): Lead Independent Director (2017); Compensation & Leadership Development Committee; Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee

American Electric Power: Chair of Audit Committee; Member of Directors and Corporate Governance Committee; Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Policy Committee

*Reynolds American was acquired by British American Tobacco

Roderick A. Palmore

(Image: lcldnet.org)

Position: Senior Counsel, Dentons US L.L.P.

S&P 500 Boards:

Express Scripts Holding Co.: Corporate Governance Committee

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: Chair of Governance Committee; Member of Finance Committee; Executive Committee

CBOE Holdings Inc.: Chair of Risk Committee; Member of Nominating and Governance Committee; Executive Committee

Samuel C. Scott III

Samuel C. Scott: Retired Chairman, President & CEO; Corn Products international – Board: Motorola Solutions Inc.

Position: Retired Chairman, & CEO, Corn Products International Inc.

S&P 500 Boards:

Abbott Laboratories: Audit Committee; Compensation Committee

The Bank of New York Mellon Corp.: Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility Committee; Member of Audit Committee; Human Resources and Compensation Committee

Motorola Solutions Inc.: Lead Independent Director of the Board; Chair of Governance and Nominating Committee; Member of Executive Committee

Bradley T. Sheares

Position: Former CEO, Reliant Pharmaceuticals

Honeywell International Inc.: Chair of Retirement Plans Committee; Member of Management Development and Compensation Committee

Henry Schein Inc.: Compensation Committee; Nominating and Governance Committee; Strategic Advisory Committee

Progressive Corp.: Chair of Compensation Committee

Hansel E. Tookes II


Position: Retired Chairman & CEO, Raytheon Aircraft Co.

NextEra Energy Inc.: Chair of Finance & Investment Committee; Member of Compensation Committee; Executive Committee

Corning Inc.: Chair of Governance Committee; Member of the Compensation Committee; Executive Committee

Harris Corp.: Chair of Governance and Corporate Responsibility Committee; Member of Management Development and Compensation Committee

Ryder System Inc.: Chair of Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee; Member of Audit Committee

Ronald A. Williams

Position: Former Chairman & CEO, Aetna Inc.

Johnson & Johnson: Chair of the Compensation & Benefits Committee; Member of Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee

Boeing Co.: Chair of the Finance Committee; Member of Audit Committee; Special Programs Committee

American Express Co.: Chair of Risk Committee; Member of Compensation and Benefits Committee; Nominating and Governance Committee