BETSY ATKINS Authors Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director
Betsy Atkins, former CEO and experienced corporate director has candid and very practical advice for those who serve on the boards of big, complex enterprises in her new book, Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director. is collection of her writing on boards includes the now-legendary “My 16 Days on the HealthSouth Board,” with the details of her brief, turbulent stint as a director of a company facing (but not facing up to) massive criminal fraud charges. She discusses problems from an executive trying to bribe a world leader to a marketing VP’s porn site, traditional concerns of strategy, CEO compensation and succession, shareholder lawsuits, and up-to-the-minute issues of ESG and social media.
“Betsy Atkins is the consummate board member and her breath of experience, and knowledge of corporate governance, is unparalleled,” said Bank of America Director Lionel Nowell. “Behind Boardroom Doors is saturated with real-life examples of good, and bad, corporate governance, and I would highly recommend Betsy’s book as required reading for anyone seeking to gain insights and perspectives on how to better represent shareholders, and provide exemplary board oversight.”
Institutional Shareholder Services Founder Robert A.G. Monks concurs, “This book is a treasure. The ultimate mystery for students, regulators, consultants, lawyers, economists – and even putative and serving members – is what goes on in the Board of Directors. Those who try to rate boards are stymied because all they have access to is public information. Betsy Atkins’ book is what we all have been looking for. It is a compilation of perspectives from the inside by a really engaging narrator and professional director. I have never had such a good insight into what directors ought to do … and the great value they can impart to an enterprise.”
Atkins is a three-time CEO and serial entrepreneur and founder of Baja Corporation. She is an expert at scaling companies through hyper growth and leading them to successful IPO and acquisitions. Some of her more notable transactions include the acquisition of Clear Standards by SAP and Ascend Communications ($5 billion in revenue), which was then acquired by Lucent for $23 billion. At Baja Corporation, Atkins has built three early stage funds and has made early investments in companies, such as Yahoo, eBay and Selectica. “Having known Betsy for many years as a trusted advisor and board ‘whisperer’, we most recently co-innovated on a groundbreaking initiative at the New York Stock Exchange – FORGE ( The Future of Responsibility, Governance and Ethics),” said NYSE Governance Services President Adam Sodowick. “Here, I was able to experience a new dimension of Betsy as we assembled and captured on film the cutting-edge experiences from leading Chairmen, CEOs and government Cabinet members. … She is truly a groundbreaking ‑ gure in the governance landscape and has earned her title as the ‘Balanchine of the Boardroom’.