Highly Compensated and Failed Governance

smiley face thumbs down2023 has continuously marked the collapse of numerous corporations, especially in the financial sector. The downfall of these companies should be blamed on the failed governance of now former executives and former board members. Certain inefficiencies such as poor leadership and decision-making, lack of accountability, unethical practices or fraud, and financial mismanagement are all factors that influence failed governance. Many of the biggest board failures of 2023 have faced these problems, despite the unbelievably large compensation packages that many of them receive. Here are some prime examples below:


  1. Theranos was a California-based healthcare technology company founded by Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford University dropout. Holmes and her former business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were recently convicted of fraud, as Theranos primarily failed due to false or misleading claims and a lack of transparency. Theranos’ board of directors was infamous for its star-studded military men and business moguls, whose compensation packages included a $150,000 annual salary and 500,000 shares in the company. Henry Kissinger, specifically, received another $500,000 for his consulting salary. Elizabeth Holmes, as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, earned between $200,000 and $390,000 between 2013 and 2015. Throughout its assembly, the Board of Theranos included the following individuals, among others:

    • George Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State

    • Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State

    • Riley Bechtel, former CEO of Bechtel Group

    • David Boies, Founder and Chairman of Boies Schiller Flexner

    • William Foege, former Director of the CDC

    • Richard Kovacevich, former CEO and Chairman of Wells Fargo

    • Jim Mattis, former Marine Corps general, former Head of U.S. Central Command, later U.S. Defense Secretary

    • Fabrizio Bonanni, former Executive VP of Amgen


  1. Silicon Valley Bank, SVB Financial Group’s failed company, is now managed by First Citizens Bank. Silicon Valley Bank was once the 16th largest U.S. bank and has long been associated with venture capitalists and tech startups. The bank collapsed on account of insufficient risk management and supervision by the SVB board. The board of directors were compensated, on average, $283,142 in 2021, with the lowest pay being $103,613 and the highest being $461,532. Listed below are the Board of Directors for SVB Financial Group and their total compensation packages:

    • Kate Mitchell, Co-Founder of Scale Venture Partners, $291,355

    • Elizabeth Burr, interim CEO of RiteAid, $103,613

    • Garen Staglin, Owner of Staglin Family Vineyard, $291,355

    • Mary J. Miller, former U.S. Secretary for Domestic Finance, $309,355

    • Tom King, former CEO of Investment Banking at Barclays, $532,500

    • Alison Davis, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fifth Era, $277,355

    • Beverly Kay Matthews, former Ernst & Young Board Member, $286,363

    • Eric Benhamou, CEO of Benhamous Global Ventures, $291,355

    • Jeffrey Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, $264,355

    • Joel Friedman, President of Business Process Outsourcing at Accenture, $291,355

    • John Clendening, former CEO of Blucora, $264,355

    • Richard Daniels, former Executive VP and Chief Information Officer of Kaiser Permanente, $265,355

    • Roger Dunbar, former Global Vice Chairman at Ernst & Young, $461,532


  1. Signature Bank failed directly after Silicon Valley Bank. Signature Bank was a New-York based financial institution that was heavily associated with the cryptocurrency industry, being one of the few banks to actually accept deposits in crypto. The company was bought out by New York Community Bancorp. Signature Bank’s failure is a consequence of mismanagement, faltering corporate governance, and ignorance toward the FDIC. Here are the Signature Bank board members and their total compensation:

    • Derrick D. Cephas, former President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, $329,140

    • Michael Pappagallo, Founder and CEO of Aspen Realty, $286,540

    • Jalak Jobanputra, Founder of Future Perfect Ventures, $286,660

    • Barney Frank, former U.S. Congressman, $303,270

    • Maggie Timoney, CEO of The Heineken Company, $310,020

    • Judith A. Huntington, President of Pegasus Financial Concierge, $369,770


  1. First Republic Bank was known for its wealth management services, which were well used by those with high-net-worths. The bank is now owned by JPMorgan Chase. First Republic’s failure can again be blamed on inadequate corporate governance, as uninsured deposits and liquidity were a major issue. The board members of First Republic Bank and their 2021 compensation packages are listed below:

    • James Herbert II, Founder and Executive Chairman, $17.8 million

    • Katherine August-deWilde, former Sr. VP and Chief Financial Officer at PMI Group, $401,900

    • Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., former President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, $335,500

    • Boris Groysberg, Professor at Harvard Business School, $334,000

    • Sandra R. Hernandez, M.D., President and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation, $306,000

    • Pamela J. Joyner, Founder of Avid Partners, $335,800

    • Reynold Levy, former President of the Robin Hood Foundation, $426,100

    • Duncan L. Niederauer, former CEO of NYSE, $261,800

    • George G.C. Parker, former Director of Colony Capital, $358,200

    • Michael J. Roffler, former Certified Public Accountant at KPMG, $6 million

    • Roger O. Walther, Chairman of Tusker Corporation, $290,000

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