No one wants to be president

L.R. writes:

Dear Paul:

After an AGM, with new board members being elected, what if no one wants the position of President of the Board?  The board member who held the position of Vice President last term does not wish to be president and none of the other board members want the position either.  What should we do?

We sincerely appreciate this forum. Thank You.

Paul replies:

Dear L.R.:

Interesting question. I hope that one person will eventually accept the lead role. My first thought is that individuals should be advised when they let their name stand for election to the board, they will have to assume one of the officer roles. When boards with fifteen or more directors have to select a president, it is usually not a challenge. Small boards, however, might face your problem every year. When corporations elect directors and let directors determine the distribution of responsibilities, the elected must step up to the plate.

I suspect that the same people will be re-elected. If they do not want to take responsibility, I question their commitment to your community. Who will chair board meetings? The role of chairing meetings could be shared, or each director could take a turn chairing. This may be a way of sharing the work although it may prove to be inefficient in the long term. Who will speak on behalf of the board? You cannot have all directors going in all directions representing the corporation. A board should speak with “One Voice”. Having more than one person take the role may result in contradictory statements, or cause confusion for the owners.

What do your governing documents say? Many governing documents provide that the current officer (president) will remain in the role until a successor is found. This ensures continuity. A ship without a captain is destined to drift out of control.

The current president may agree to stay on as a mentor to a reluctant director who would take the role. The current president could announce this will be their last year. A person who is hesitant to come forward could shadow them during this time to learn the job.

Selecting a president will be the newly elected board’s first order of business. Good luck.

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