Carnegie Hall Board Dissonance–What Lessons For Nonprofits?
By: Eugene H. Fram
Ronald O. Perelman (Carnegie Hall Board Chair) …was critical of trustees for placing “a premium on avoiding tensions and disagreement” and said he will leave (the board) in a month. The Problem: Clive Gillinson (Executive Director & Artistic Director) signed a $100,000 contract that might include a conflict of interest…to which Perelman (and two other directors) objected. The board agreed to engage an independent lawyer to investigate the situation, but Perelman, in apparent anger, reported progress has been too slow. *
Ronald Perelman’s abrupt resignation sounds a “clarion call” for all nonprofit board members. When an executive director appears to overstep his/h authority and/or when the board has not vetted a significant contract, nonprofit board members need to take proactive stands. Although the Carnegie Hall board is about 78 strong and tends to glitter with “star quality,” there are obvious parallels with nonprofit reactions to similar disruptions. How should directors of smaller nonprofits react to morale crises of this nature? (more…)