Chairman: Mastering The Role

conference roomMichael Brauser started his executive career at Kertz Systems as CEO. Eventually, he moved to Board of Director positions, Co-Chairman and Executive Chairman roles. From 2007 to 2015 he held Co-Chairman positions at, InterClick and Chromadex Inc. Since 2015, Brauser has been the Executive Chairman of Cogint. Inc. (formerly IDI) and Chairman of Majesco Entertainment.This has been a journey for him, gaining technical knowledge, building a network and developing skills in negotiation. Michael Brausers’ BIO lists his most impressive accomplishments.

Michael Brauser: The Chairman

The role of the Chair at a publicly traded company is complex. It involves a great deal of responsibility to the shareholders, the Board members and CEO. Michael Brauser has shown his ability to manage the various stakeholders and successfully lead several Boards.Although the specifics of the Chair’s task vary from one company to another, here is an idea of what is involved.
  • Providing leadership to the Board of Directors
  • Presiding over Board meetings and helping to set agendas.
  • Overseeing development and execution of an annual plan for the Board to clarify focus and goals.
  • Acting as the connection between the Board Members, CEO and Management.
  • Ensuring the Board that they have access to accurate information to make informed decisions.
  • Monitoring and maintaining the relations between all stakeholders.
Source: Delloitte (2014)

What are the requirements of a good Chairman?

The Chair is an important role where many hats are worn, sometimes daily. Michael Brausers’ experience as Founder, Director and CEO with numerous companies has given him the opportunity to wear various hats. See his Business Conquests for specific details on his previous roles.A good chairman can fill all of these roles with confidence and expertise.1. MotivatorBring the Board of Directors together, keep them focused on their goals and buildings2. MentorSupport the CEO in fulfilling their responsibilities. This often requires some careful listening and coaching during critical times. The Chair recommends the CEO candidate, so the Board will directly question them on the CEO’s performance.3. PoliticianThe Chair’s allegiance lies with the CEO however they can be approached with concerns from other C level executives, senior managers and the Board. This is a careful path to go down that requires patience and intuition.4. RefereeThere are conflicts of varying degrees that will test the Chair’s running of the Board. Their skills in conflict resolution are vital to solving issues professionally and quickly.5. VisionaryGood timing is essential when raising discussions with the Board. If the Chair places long term strategy as a priority, then the company will lead the way. This approach strengthens the CEO position.6. RecruiterThe Chair is responsible for replacing the CEO. Using their knowledge of the CEO position (which they may have held at one time) they need to access their network of contacts to recruit the best candidate. This may often require persuasive techniques since talented CEOs are in high demand. Next is to convince the Board members that, that individual would be an asset to the company.

Michael Brauser: The Executive Chairman

Michael Brauser has been the Executive Chairman of Cogint Inc since June, 2015. As Executive Chairman (EC), his roles are slightly different than a Chairman. Each company is structured differently with some choosing not to and some choose to have an EC (like Google). The Cogint Inc. corporate governance functions with an Executive Chairman, a Vice Chairman, Directors and Independent Directors. It is structured with a Chairperson, a financial expert and three committees. Michael Brausers’ role has been decided based on the needs of Cogint Inc. As Executive Chairman the CEO would report directly to him. He would have the opportunity to have an influence on the company but would not be involved in operations. For someone with experience as Founder, CEO and Director of many companies, this would be an ideal position.

The Roles of CEO and Executive Chairman

The Executive Chairman (EC) and CEO are present day-to-day in the company whereas the Chairman likely is not. The division of responsibilities between the CEO and EC is dependent on the company itself but should be clearly defined to avoid confusion and complications.
  • An EC is treated as an employee of the company yet mentors and coaches the CEO.
  • The EC acts as liaison between Board and CEO or Management.
  • An EC is responsible for external funding, partnerships and management development.
  • A CEO is responsible for processes (operations, strategic and operational)
  • The CEO receives support from other C level employees.
  • Based on skills and qualifications the EC can take over specific CEO tasks as defined.
  • Determine areas where collaboration can be beneficial to the company.
  • It is imperative that the EC chooses a CEO they are confident they can work with.
Based on The Right Way to Divide Responsibilities Between Chairman and CEO. George Bradt, ForbesLearn about Creating a High Performing Board of Directors.


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