Your Haas Network
Ronald Codd, BS 77
Former CFO, PeopleSoft
Professional Independent Director
Although Ronald Codd, BS 77, went into semiretirement in 2002 after leaving Momentum, a spin-off he ran for software maker PeopleSoft, he didn't stay out of the game for long.
In the post Sarbanes-Oxley era, Codd has reinvented himself as a serial board member who helps companies navigate new corporate governance challenges. Switching his CEO/CFO hat for that of "professional independent director," Codd can be found sitting on anywhere from four to six boards at a time. (For now, he counts Agile Software, Calypso Technology, Interwoven, and LANDesk Software as clients.) On these boards, he says, his independence is an asset.
"These board members can't be officers in the company previously or have certain affiliations with the company," he says. "They have to be true representatives of the shareholder."
Codd also lends extensive corporate governance and operating experience. He served as PeopleSoft's CFO from 1991 to 1998, taking the company public in 1992, his third successful IPO. Under his tenure, PeopleSoft grew from a $15 million company with 70 employees to a $1.3 billion company with more than 6,000 employees by 1998. In 1999, Codd left PeopleSoft to run Momentum, created solely for PeopleSoft's research and development. The spinoff idea hailed from several biotech companies that created separate entities and funded them to develop new products, he says. Momentum gave PeopleSoft an edge it required to rewrite its enterprise software and better compete against rivals SAP and Oracle (which bought PeopleSoft in 2004).
As a board member, Codd admits the days of pre-Enron "creative accounting" that enabled many companies to develop "special purpose entities" like Momentum are over. So are the days of the phantom board director who swooped in during the Internet boom to lend star power to a startup but did little else. He explains, "Now board members have to be engaged. They need to work."