RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Want to speed up the pulse of an executive? Have him or her break out in a cold sweat? Start twitching? Rubbing hands? Perspire profusely?

Just ask him or her to be a CEO — or sit on a board of directors.

Used to be, the questions that would send them into a tizzy were: “When are we ever going to turn a profit?” or “What’s the burn rate?”

In these days of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, SEC stipulations and tarnished corporate reputations, a lot of people are just saying “No” when asked to serve on a board or run a company.

Who wants to be the next FBI white collar crime poster exec?

But companies need bosses and boards, so Jim Verdonik, a partner with Kilpatrick Stockton, is offering some help.

Verdonik, who was one of the lawyers interviewed by Catharine L. Traugot’s recent five-part series for Local Tech Wire about fallout of the corporate scandals that produced Sarbanes-Oxley, has launched a Web site which he says will help boards, in-house counsels, management teams, what he calls “professional advisors” and even reporters to understand board and corporate governance.

It’s called

“The 1990s were the decade of doing deals fast. The first decade of this century is about doing it right,” Verdonik said when he announced his new effort.

In an interview with Traugot, Verdonik pointed out companies are having trouble finding CEOs. He referred to “buying tickets on the Titanic.”

Verdonik is not alone in his concerns about the changed — even if for the better — corporate climate. At a recent NCEITA event, Larry Robbins, partner in Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLC, described Sarbanes-Oxley as “unbelievable legislation.”

As we noted in a Daily Skinny on Sept. 25, Robbins cited reasons for concern:

  • Criminal liability is sobering
  • More expensive to be public
  • Fewer candidates will be interested in serving on corporate boards
  • Executive compensation will be reduced
  • There will be more going private transactions
  • Trend for public companies to do spin-offs will grow

Through his Web site, Verdonik said companies and individuals can, free of charge, get access to a wide variety of information he believes will be helping in improving governance. Some points covered include:

  • Participate in a national survey about board related practices
  • Recruit members for your board of directors
  • Offer to serve on boards of directors
  • Locate expert witnesses for board related litigation and disputes
  • Ask questions about board issues and receive answers from advisory board members who are directors, investors, investment bankers, attorneys, accountants and other professionals
  • Be referred to professional advisors for board and other corporate governance issues
  • Analyze the effect of corporate scandals on stock prices
  • Compare stock price performance to insider trading volume for the 25 companies with the largest amount of insider trading

Matthew Szulik, in a recent speech at the B2T Conference in Raleigh, also lamented how much he is spending monthly on lobbyists, attorneys and such to deal with legislative issues and regulatory concerns that have arisen out of all the corporate debacles. He lamented the need for campaign finance reform as well.

“I’d much rather be using that money to hire engineers,” he said.

But the fact is increased scrutiny of CEOs, other officers and their boards is here to stay — at least until a different kind of scandal or another war breaks out.

Here’s the Web site: www,

In case you missed Traugot’s series, here are links to the stories:

Part One: Want To Be a CEO? Your Feet Will Be Closer to Fire in Hot Scandal Climate –

Part Two: New Rules, Regulations Mean Tougher Scrutiny for CEOs – and Boards-

Part Three: Scandal Fallout: Analyst Scrutiny Could Put Pinch on Local Companies –

Part Four: Trust and the Analyst: Will the Two Ever Go Together? –

Part Five: ‘Quantitative Analysts’ Can Be an Investor’s Best Friend –