Taking Charge The Board President’s Role

Every co-op shareholder knows that their board president is responsible for making decisions that affect the entire building community—but not as many grasp the amount of responsibility and decision-making that a person undertakes when they become board president.

While the presidents and CEOs of major corporations are usually compensated handsomely for the time and effort they’re expected to devote to their job, a co-op or condo board president is essentially a volunteer who has been elected or appointed to their position. They receive no pay or perks for their work, but must answer to every shareholder for their decisions. If a board president carries out his or her duties competently and efficiently, the building may run so smoothly that few shareholders even trouble themselves to remember the board president’s name. If things are run poorly, however, the president can look forward to building-wide notoriety, and probably some uncomfortable encounters with disgruntled residents in the elevators and lobby.

A Global Approach

But what makes a good board president? The answer is both straightforward and somewhat complex.

“A good board president has the same general qualities of any good board member,” says Herb Rose of the board operations consulting firm Herb Rose Consulting. “They’re someone who has a global attitude toward the workings of their co-op, as opposed to someone who supports issues that are only for their own individual benefit. When you wind up with a board president who is only interested in some narrow thing, for their own particular interest and not necessarily of any interest to the rest of the building, it can be a disaster.”

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