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Board Accountability: The Evolving Roles of the Non-Executive Chair and Lead Director

  • Rock Center for Corporate Governance 559 Nathan Abbott Way Stanford, CA, 94305 United States (map)

Board Accountability: The Evolving Roles of the Non-Executive Chair and Lead Director

Today's boards face a seemingly never-ending set of risks, governance decisions and strategic initiatives as a result of investors' growing emphasis on board transparency, accountability, and independence. This insightful panel will focus on the evolving roles of board leaders, specifically, the independent chair and lead director, on driving higher-performing boards through improved processes, strengthened director evaluations and recruitment efforts and more effective shareholder engagement.

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Eric Benhamou

Founder & General Partner, Benhamou Global Ventures


Eric Benhamou has 40 years of experience in the IT industry, including 13 years of active venture capital experience. He founded Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV) in 2003 where he served as Managing Director and made active investments in early stage information technology Silicon Valley firms focused on global enterprise and telecommunications markets. BGV invested in Swan Labs (F5), Dasient (TWTR), Voltaire(MLNX), Finjan(FNJN), Contextream (HP) and Load Dynamix. Eric currently serves on the boards of Grid Dynamics and Ayehu, both recent investments of BGV's fund II. Prior to BGV, Eric Benhamou was the first 3Com CEO to formalize a corporate investment strategy and started 3Com Ventures, a $250 million corporate venture fund in 1998.

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Karen Francis

Lead Director, Telenav; Director, AutoNation

Karen C. Francis is an experienced CEO and strategic advisor based in Silicon Valley who serves as an director on corporate boards, both public and privately owned.  She has deep domain expertise in the automotive, advertising, and technology sectors.  Karen currently serves on the Board of Directors of AutoNation (NYSE:AN), the largest automotive retailer in the country, as Lead Director for Telenav (NASDAQ:TNAV), technology provider for vehicle navigation systems, as independent director for Nauto, an AI driven telematics company in the autonomous vehicle space and Dynamic Signal, software platform company which empowers employee communications and advocacy.  Karen is a Certified Board Governance Fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors and maintains a cutting edge perspective on key and trending issues facing boards including CyberSecurity, Innovation & Disruption and Risk Management

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Belen Gomez-Russum

Senior Director of Board Services, Equilar

Belen is Senior Director of Board Services and oversees operations and partnerships related to Equilar's corporate governance research. She also leads Equilar's Diversity Network (EDN) initiative focused on increasing diverse representation in boardrooms across the globe. Through the EDN program, Belen established partnerships with leading ethnic and gender diversity-focused organizations creating a "registry of registries" of board-ready executives. EDN partners include Catalyst, 30% Club, CalPERS and CalSTRS, Committee of Economic Development, among others. Her research on board composition and executive compensation has been cited in several regional, national, and trade publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Directorship, Directors & Boards, and Agenda. She managed executive leadership development and board recruitment practices where she worked to place top board talent.

To view Belen Gomez-Russum's full bio, click here


Paula Loop

Leader, Governance Insights Center, PwC

Paula Loop is the leader of PwC's Governance Insights Center, which strives to strengthen the connection between directors, executive teams and investors by helping them navigate the evolving governance landscape. With more than 20 years of experience at PwC, Paula brings extensive knowledge in governance, technical accounting, and SEC and financial reporting matters to organizations. Paula is a well known speaker on a variety of governance topics. She has also been quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes and CNBC. In 2017 NACD Directorship magazine named her for the third consecutive year as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance in the United States. Paula is a Certified Public Accountant (licensed in New York) and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a B.S. in Business Administration.

To view Paula Loop's full bio, click here