On the Boards

Directors face tougher scrutiny

Serving on boards of directors at some companies was once a pleasant, undemanding hobby for business biggies. The directorships offered short hours, fine camaraderie, handsome pay and hardly any tough decisions. "Sitting on a board as little as 15 years ago was almost like going to a men's club," says Arjay Miller, former president of Ford and the current director of nine companies. "The chairman put his buddies on the board."

These days the director's job has become much tougher. Reason: stockholders and Government regulators, notably the Securities and Exchange Commission, have begun taking directors to task for failing to perform...

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