A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors. It is often simply referred to as “the board”. A board’s activities are determined by the powers, duties, and responsibilities delegated to it or conferred on it by an authority outside itself. These matters are typically detailed in the organization’s bylaws. The bylaws commonly also specify the number of members of the board, how they are to be chosen, and when they are to meet. However, these bylaws rarely address a board’s powers when faced with a corporate turnaround or restructuring, where board members need to act as agents of change in addition to their traditional fiduciary responsibilities. In an organization with voting members, the board acts on behalf of, and is subordinate to, the organization’s full group, which usually chooses the members of the board. In a stock corporation, the board is elected by the shareholders and is the highest authority in the management of the corporation. In a non-stock corporation with no general voting membership, the board is the supreme governing body of the institution; its members are sometimes chosen by the board itself. Typical duties of boards of directors include: governing the organization by establishing broad policies and objectives; selecting, appointing, supporting and reviewing the performance of the chief executive; ensuring the availability of adequate financial resources; approving annual budgets; accounting to the stakeholders for the organization’s performance; setting the salaries and compensation of company management; The legal responsibilities of boards and board members vary with the nature of the organization, and with the jurisdiction within which it operates. For companies with publicly trading stock, these responsibilities are typically much more rigorous and complex than for those of other types. Typically the board chooses one of its members to be the chairman, who holds whatever title is specified in the bylaws.
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