How My Board Made Me a Better CEO

Editor’s Note: This piece was written in July 2018. 

By William E. McCracken with Jonathan B. Kim

When Bill McCracken joined CA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CA) crisis management was at the forefront. The company was recovering from a serious case of fraudone that called into question the organization’s future. During his initial tenure as Chairman, Bill’s primary concern was rebuilding the company’s board. Later, as CEO, the course CA charted would shape his view on activist board governance.

Sometimes an experienced coach needs all the backing he can get to turn the fortunes of a struggling team. In 2005, I joined the Board of Directors of CA after 36 years at IBM. Shortly thereafter I was elevated to Non-Executive Chairman. At the time the company was operating under the burden of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, including an outside monitor to oversee its compliance.

I quickly realized we were at a critical stage in the never-ending lifecycle of the board. As a result of mandatory retirements and term limits, nearly half of our directors had departed or were reaching the end of their tenures.

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