10. Board of Directors

10.1 List Board members.
10.2 Summarize any recent Board changes.
10.3 Provide biographies of Board members.
10.4 What other corporations are Board members associated with? Are they important? Why?
10.5 List any other news items about Board members (social clubs, political activity).
10.6 Summarize which Board members are most vulnerable.

Many privately held firms do not have boards of directors, but a growing number do. Because they are not accountable in the same way that the board is for a publicly-traded firm, it is often difficult to find information about them. The company web site is the best place to start.

Businesses must register with the Secretary of State office in the state they are located. Search Systems provides a meta search for all states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada. The best way to proceed is to choose “Corporations and Companies” and then select the state or province where the firm is headquartered. This will bring you to one or more corporate directories. This may vary by state or province. You can also search by state or province alone and explore all the possible information that is collected.

Open Corporates also provides access to public records on privately held firms worldwide.

Use a general news search to look more carefully at board activity. Also, make sure to examine local newspapers and media outlets in the city in which the firm is located. Some of this information may not show up on a general search.

Forbes provides information on top corporate players.

Firms and top management are increasingly using a variety of social media, and it is becoming an important research tool. LinkedIn is a popular business social-networking site. You need to be a member to search (membership is free), and you can search by companies as well as individuals. Facebook is becoming very popular with individuals and firms, and can be a great source of information.

UMass Resources (for UMass students only)

ABI/ Inform Global is a comprehensive source for business news.

Business Source Complete provides general information on privately held firms and, depending on size, also provides a Medtrack or Market Line report.