We received a call not too long ago from the CEO of a nonprofit client asking how the Board could retain the services of its chairman during a particularly challenging year of transition for the organization. The chairman was coming to the end of his third three-year term and everyone thought he would have to go off the Board because of the term limit in the bylaws.
Fortunately for the organization, the term limit was 10 years, not three terms, and the Chair could be re-elected to a fourth term. Although he would have to leave at the end of the next year, he would be able to lead the group during the transition.
It was just another instance in which arbitrary limits on Board service could have hurt an organization. It was typical of the type of question we get on a regular basis, when Boards ask for help to avoid losing some of their best people because of term limits. It is one of the reasons we don’t put term limits in the form of bylaws we suggest for clients creating new organizations.
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