This very interactive breakfast panel on the Board's Role in Corporate strategy was well attended and received by over 50 NACD members and guests. Corporate strategy is a dynamic topic influenced by many internal and external factors. Findings included that as a director, it is important to stay on top of your company’s short and long-term strategy. While it is essential to carefully review strategies approved by management, the role of the board is to challenge and enhance strategic plans.
Ann Ziegler is an experienced public and private company director and board
chair. She was previously the CFO of CDW, a fortune 250 provider of technology
solutions for business and the public sector.
Ann currently serves on the Boards of Hanesbrands, where she chairs the
Compensation Committee and is a member of the Governance Committee;
Wolters Kluwer, where she is a member of the Remuneration and Governance
Committees; Groupon, where is she is a member of the Audit and Governance
Committees; and US Foods, where she is a member of the Compensation and
Audit Committees. Ann also serves on the Board of a venture-back public benefit
company, Revolution Foods, where she chairs the Audit Committee.
Ann previously served as SVP and CFO of CDW. Ann joined CDW following its
2008 going-private transaction and successfully navigated the company’s
leveraged balance sheet through the 2008-2009 recession. Exiting the recession,
she led initiatives that significantly improved CDW’s margins and working capital
efficiency, doubling both its cash flow and ROIC. In 2013, Ann played a key role in
CDW’s successful return to the public equity markets and through her retirement
from CDW in 2017, lead key initiatives including the establishment and execution
on medium term financial targets and a capital allocation strategy.
Prior to joining CDW, Ann spent 15 years at Sara Lee Corporation in various
financial, strategy, M&A and general management roles in both the US and
Ann earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William & Mary
and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Ann also serves on
the board of The Smart Museum.
Julie Marcello leads Marsh's Chicago operations. In this role, she is responsible for developing and executing the business plan, maximizing client retention, achieving sustainable growth, pursuing continuous improvement, and creating forums for collaboration and innovative dialogue around risk. A believer in trust, transparency, and talent, Marcello's leadership style aims to inspire her team to operate with passion and expertise to create exceptional results for the business and their own professional development.
Marcello is an accomplished insurance industry executive with global management and operational experience. She has 19 years of domestic and international experience spearheading strategy, P&L management, production, distribution, portfolio management, operations, service delivery, and team leadership.
Marcello joined Marsh in 2016 and successfully led the financial and professional liability growth strategy for the company's North East Zone. Prior, she spent 18 years with Chubb in professional and management liability leadership roles around the globe including Latin American zonal underwriting manager, Australia country leader, and European zone leader.
Paul S. Williams is a seasoned public company director, a former Fortune 20 C-suite executive and current President of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Chicago Chapter. His experience on a total of four public company boards during the past 15 years, including a Fortune 500 corporation, has spanned diverse industries which have encompassed insurance/financial services, restaurants/hospitality, consumer products, minerals/mining, industrial manufacturing, and business products distribution/wholesaling. Paul is the retired executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Cardinal Health, Inc., a Fortune 20 Ohio-based global healthcare services company with revenues then exceeding $80 billion and 55,000 employees. Paul has significant experience in the areas of corporate governance, human capital, executive recruiting, compensation, diversity, and M&A. He has had extensive public company board leadership responsibility, including a role as Lead Independent Director, three Compensation Committee chairmanships, and two Nominating & Governance Committee chairmanships. He has served on four Audit Committees and chaired three CEO Search Committees. He currently is the Compensation Committee Chair of Compass Minerals International, Inc. (NYSE: CMP) and a former member of the boards of Bob Evans, State Auto Financial Corporation and Essendant. Paul received his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Harvard in 1981 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1984.
Mark Chong is senior vice president of strategy and marketing for CDW. Chong is responsible for corporate strategy, business development and all marketing functions including analytics and insights, brand, advertising and sponsorships, campaign planning and execution, and corporate communications.
Prior to joining CDW, Chong was a partner at Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm. While there, he helped business-to-business companies develop or enhance their go-to-market strategies through his expertise in Bain’s customer strategy and marketing, digital, and industrial goods and services practices. Chong also assisted clients to address issues such as corporate and business unit strategy, customer strategy, sales force effectiveness and post-merger integration and operations. Before Bain, he held executive positions at Honeywell International, where he served as vice president of strategy and marketing for the aerospace business.
Chong earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the board of directors for Make-A-Wish Illinois.