Board of Directors
A group of people comprising the governing body of a corporation.
The shareholders of a corporation hold an election to choose people who have been nominated to direct or manage the corporation as a board. In the past nearly all states required that at least three directors run a corporation. The laws have changed, however, since many corporations have only one or two shareholders and therefore require only one or two directors to serve on the board.
Directors are elected at the first annual meeting of shareholders and at each successive annual meeting for one-year terms, unless they are divided into classes. In a corporation that divides its directors into classes, called a classified board, conditions are often imposed concerning the minimum size of the board, the minimum number of directors to be elected annually, and the maximum number of classes or maximum terms. The purpose of a classified board, which is expressly permitted by most statutes, is to make takeover attempts more difficult by staggering the terms of the directors.
Removal of a director during the course of his or her term may occur for cause by shareholders or by the board itself if there is a provision in the bylaws or articles of incorporation that confers such power upon them. The removal of a director for cause is reviewable by a court. Many jurisdictions have put into effect statutes that concern the removal of directors with or without cause.
The functions of directors involve a fiduciary duty to the corporation. Directors are in control of others' property and their powers are derived primarily from statute.
Directors are responsible for determining and executing corporate policy. For example, they make decisions regarding supervision of the entire enterprise and regarding products and services.
Liabilities of directors extend to both their individual and joint actions. A director who commits a TORT against his or her corporation can be held personally liable.
Directors are bound by certain duties such as the duty to act within the scope of their authority and to exercise due care in the performance of their corporate tasks.