In a business career that spans more than 40 years, Clint Allen, a retired CEO, Vice Chairman and Chairman of a New York Stock Exchange Member firm, and a Cambridge based biotech company, has served on 19 public company boards including such high profile ones as Blockbuster Entertainment (founder and Blockbuster CEO Wayne Huizenga is a close friend), Swiss Army, and Steinway Musical Instrument Company. Currently he sits on the board of 3 public companies, is a Non-Executive Chairman of one and Lead Director.
The climate and skill set required of an effective board member have dramatically changed since the mid 70's when Clint first sat on a public board. The enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley coupled with the recent spate of disgraceful corporate shenanigans have created the need for closer board member oversight, and by extension greater understanding and knowledge of the legal, ethical and governance issues required for effective board leadership. The necessity for Professional Directors with education and skills to responsibly and ethically represent the public shareholders was born.
Clint started the Corporate Directors Group (CDG) in January of 2004 with a dozen members, friends with whom he could discuss and assess the larger corporate issues and concerns that all corporate directors were facing. Soon the collegial, and fun atmosphere of the director learning experience attracted director friends of friends, and the organization began a rapid growth through word of mouth. Well known experts like “super-lawyer”, Bob Popeo of Mintz Levin, and executive compensation guru, Peter Lupo of Pearl Meyer & Partners, were frequent speakers at the members seminars followed by "networking time." Word spread quickly that the CDG was a great organization in which to learn, network and keep abreast of the changing board governance issues.
CDG's business model is simple. An impressive group of sponsor/experts, who are well versed in corporate governance issues, underwrite the CDG. There is no charge to be a member or to participate in most of the director education programs offered throughout the year, the exception being the three, day and a half Director Education Forums held annually in Boston, Phoenix and Ponte Vedra, Florida. Membership has grown to over 1800 in just 10 years.
Four years ago, through its subsidiary, The American College of Corporate Directors, the CDG initiated a unique Professional Director Certification Program, open to all members. By earning a requisite number of Credit hours for attendance or participation in CDG sponsored director education programs, the CDG and the American College of Corporate Directors present qualifying members with one of the four tiered American College of Corporate Directors certifications: Professional Director; Advanced Professional Director; Master Professional Director and Executive Masters Professional Director. These credentials have become the "gold standard" in public company director education and those directors who earn them are highly valued in the director community.
As the Corporate Directors Group and the American College of Directors continue to grow, Clint Allen's original idea of providing meaningful public company director education in a collegial atmosphere continues. The Corporate Directors Group and the American College of Directors trains and graduates some of the best directors in America!