This is part of a series of stories that comprise TheStreet's Blue Chip Studio, which will illuminate issues related to corporate board performance, activism, dealmakers and personalities revealed by analysis of data generated by BoardEx, a business unit of TheStreet.
John Malone and Gregory Maffei, the chairman and the chief executive officer of Liberty Media Corp. (FWONA) and Liberty Interactive Corp. (QVCA) , top the list of U.S. executives who sit on the most corporate boards, earning them the title of "most over-boarded."
There are at least 14 other U.S. directors who are over-boarded, meaning that they sit on more boards than is recommended by influential shareholder advisory firms such as Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis & Co. Sitting on many boards raises questions about a director's ability to effectively manage his time and responsibilities for each company. The data on over-boarding comes from BoardEx, a subsidiary of TheStreet that maps corporate relationships.
Though being a director on a board is not necessarily a full-time commitment, in recent years, board members have seen a "major increase" in the number of hours required to serve on a public company board, according to global accounting firm BDO. Given this trend, shareholder advisory firms say directors should sit on no more than five public company boards in the United States. Still, there are numerous directors who exceed that limit.
"Over-boarding is really simple, it means you're on too many boards," said Charles Elson, a professor of finance and corporate governance at the University of Delaware. "If you're sitting on too many boards, someone is getting short-changed."