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Matchmaker, Matchmaker

The online board matchmaking service is available to both public and private companies.

23Aug


EXP. CFO SEEKS LG. CO. BD. POST, POS. AUDIT COM. ASSMT. I ENJOY
TRAVEL, CONVERSATION, AND LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH.


OK, scratch that last sentence, but the first part is no fantasy. Nasdaq has unveiled a new way for companies and finance executives to hook up over open board seats and possibly make long-term commitments.


Launched in June, BoardRecruiting.com is an online board matchmaking
service available to both public and private companies. Potential candidates and firms create profiles on the site and Nasdaq initiates meetings once mutual interest is established. According to Bruce Aust, executive vice president of Nasdaq's Corporate Client Group, the service offers a new way "to harness [potential board] talent" at lower cost while providing more-direct access between companies and candidates.


As of July, some 1,500 potential candidates had signed on — 60 percent of whom had prior board experience. Betsy Atkins, CEO of venture-capital firm Baja LLC (and a member of four public-company boards), says the service will be a great way to assess new opportunities. But Russell Lavoie, CFO of Framingham, Mass.-based Computer Corp. of America, notes that the service may not be right for some sectors, such as high-tech start-ups, where board recruitment "depends very much on word of mouth" and is based more on candidates who have access to capital or contacts.


Peter Gleason, COO and director of research for the National Association of Corporate Directors, believes there is a place for it, especially since traditional search firms tend to seek out candidates only in the "upper echelons" of Corporate America. (The NACD offers a similar — and free — service for its members.) He cautions, however, that companies must be prepared to vet candidates closely — something that search firms routinely handle for their typical $125,000+ fee. Nasdaq charges a one-search fee of $10,000 or an unlimited annual subscription of $15,000, plus a contingency fee of $20,000 for each introduction that results in a placement.

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