When chairmen came courting Condoleezza Rice.
I returned to Stanford tired but content, I didn't miss Washington or the work in the White House, Even when the coup against Gorbachev took place in August 1991, leading to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union in December, I didn't regret my decision to leave. Throughout the spring and summer, I worked again for ABC News as an expert analyst but largely kept my distance from the policy world, I'd done my part and had no desire to try to influence events from afar.
In fact new horizons were opening up for me, A few weeks after returning home, I received a call from George Shultz, I had gotten to know George shortly before he went to Washington to become secretary of state in 13S2, He had taken an interest in my career and stayed in touch during my time in Washington, George was a director of the Chevron Corporation and wondered if I might be interested in joining the board. Chevron had just acquired a stake in the Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan, at the time a part of the Soviet Union, and George felt that my expertise would be useful to them.
After a day with the CEO, Ken Derr, and his team, I signed on enthusiastically.
In retrospect, it was a stretch for the company to appoint a 36-year-old associate professor to a board largely populated by corporate titans. At the time, Chevron named oil tankers for its directors, so in 1993 my entire family and I traveled to Brazil to christen the Condoleezza Rice. Several years later, when i was national security advisor, the company and I agreed that it was not wise to have my name floating into ports around the world, and the tanker was renamed. After the terrorist attacks of September 11,I was awfully glad we had made the change.
I quickly learned that once you join one corporate board, other opportunities emerge, A month or so later, Frank Herringer, the CEO of Transamerica. invited me to join the board of the insurance and financial services company, headquartered in San Francisco. Then one day my secretary said that David Packard wanted to come and see me, I'd gotten to know David In Republican politics, but he was a giant figure, a founding father of Silicon Valley and one of Stanford's greatest benefactors, I could not imagine him coming to see me. "Tell Mr. Packard that I'll come to see him," I said to Yvonne.
She returned a few minutes later "No. he insists on coming to see you,"
"How are you, Dave?" I asked to break the ice when be entered my office.
"It's no fun getting old," he said, "But as they say, it's better than the alternative." I laughed, but he went right to the point. "Hewlett-Packard is a good company You're a good person, I want you to be a director of HP. Call me when you decide," Then he got up and left.
Dave had a reputation for directness, even abruptness, but this was a remarkable encounter. Usually a prospective director meets with the management and other directors. There is a kind of two-way courtship. Not with Dave, So I called him the next day and said yes.
Holding down three corporate board positions, I was quickly becoming busier than I had planned to be.
From Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice, copyright [C]2010 by the author, published by Crown Archetype, an imprint of Random House Inc.'s Crown Publishing Group (www.crownpublishing.com). Reprinted with permission.
Condoleezza Rice: It was a stretch for Chevron to appoint a 36-year-old associate professor to a board largely populated by corporate titans,'
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||DIRECTOR MEMOIR|
|Publication:||Directors & Boards|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2011|
|Previous Article:||The 'known quantity' factor in finding new directors.|
|Next Article:||Company index.|