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Rating:Putnam on Prowl for New Director Not Rated 2.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, May 28, 2004

Putnam on Prowl for New Director

Reported by Theresa Sim

Putnam's twelve member board of directors is hiring.

Who's leaving? W. Nicholas Thorndike, a trustee since 1992 and 71 years old, is obligated under Putnam's age limitation to retire this year. Thorndike will attend his last meeting in June, said John Hill, chairman of the board of trustees.

Putnam is using a headhunter to help with the search for a replacement. Hill reports: "we probably have twenty good candidates, who are very interested in joining this board" and that the directors have not had any difficult in locating qualified candidates.

The next opportunity to join Putnam's board, provided there is no change up in members for reasons other than reaching retirement age, will be in two years, when A.J.C. Smith celebrates his 72nd birthday.

Including Hill, there are 12 board members, with tenures ranging from three to 20 years.

The ideal person for the job has good judgment, self-confidence, analytical skills, and is able to work well in groups, said Hill. The director must be able to ask "not only first round questions, but third, fourth, fifth round questions…if you don't like the answers," added Hill.

Putnam and Fidelity are among the fund firms with boards already in step with increased responsibilities of independent directors, said Hill, and consequently have higher relative compensation than other fund firms. Putnam's board meets at least twice a month, every month, whereas some fund board directors meet only a few times a year.

Hill noted that Putnam hasn't raised their independent director pay in five years, and has no plans to raise it.

"It is a bigger job, it does require more time…but to me, that's one of the reasons why you need an independent director. The extra time requirement to me is one of the pluses" commented Hill. 

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