Good Advice: Start an Advisory Board

For growing companies that want outside perspectives and expertise, an advisory board may be just the thing.

Ultimately, as a company grows or goes public, the advisory board may transition with it. Leader Bank has already seen one advisory board member become a director. A similar path may unfold at Myriant Technologies, a privately held biotech development firm based in Massachusetts. Along with a formal board of directors, Myriant boasts an advisory board with such heavy hitters as Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin; James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Robert McFarlane, national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan; and, as of last week, J. Brian Ferguson, former CEO of Eastman Chemical.

“As an early-stage company, and with a limited budget, it’s vital to have the advisory board, which serves as a wealth of experience and information at a moment’s notice,” says Samuel McConnell, senior vice president of corporate development at Myriant. “As the company matures, however, that experience either comes onto the regular board of directors or you bring it in-house.”

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