Building High Performance Boards During Challenging Times

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August 10, 2010

Event Description:

With venture-backed companies experiencing longer times to liquidity due to the turmoil in the capital markets, investor misalignments become exacerbated as a result of stressful management transitions, unanticipated new financing rounds, and new faces at the boardroom table who have acquired investment positions at a discount to the lead investors.

Board dysfunction can destroy investor value and bring a company to its knees. At the same time, a well aligned, highly performing board can help the management team build value and avoid some of the common mistakes that venture backed companies make. Pascal will review director fiduciary duty in a practical context and address the difficult dynamics that boards face during stressful times. He will point out common characteristics of effective and ineffective directors and recommend solutions to difficult situations.

About the Speaker:

Pascal Levensohn is the Managing Partner of Levensohn Venture Partners (LVP), which he founded in 1996. In April 2007, he was elected to a four-year term on the board of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and is currently the chairman of the NVCA’s education committee, a position that he has held for three years. Since April 2010, he is also the Managing Director of Presidio Strategic Services (PSS) a division of San Francisco-based wealth advisory firm Presidio Financial Partners. PSS delivers timely solutions to optimize sophisticated family offices and institutions for growth. These services range from customized governance best practices and leadership development programs to empower the next generation of fiduciaries to the implementation of concrete strategies for active or passive investments in operating businesses at a crossroads.

Pascal is a former co-chairman of the Socrates Society Forum of the Aspen Institute (2007-2009) and is currently involved with the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security program. He is currently a Mentor and member of the faculty in the Kauffman Fellows Program, where he has lectured on venture capital board corporate governance best practices since 2006.

A frequent contributor to leading publications on subjects ranging from corporate governance to global competitiveness and innovation, Pascal has recently given public addresses on cybersecurity and America’s slipping global competitiveness to the Department of Homeland Security (Washington, D.C., March 2009) and the Stevens Institute of Technology (Washington, D.C., January 2010, conference broadcast on C-Span). In addition, Pascal has recently written opinion pieces that have been published in The Wall Street Journal (8/12/09,), the San Jose Mercury News (4/16/09), and he was featured in an article on venture capital in The Economist (4/29/10). He is a featured contributor to the July 2010 issue of Trusts & Estates magazine and is the co-author of an undergraduate textbook, Venture Capital: Theory and Practice, with Professor Mannie Liu of Renmin University of Beijing, published in July 2010 in Chinese. This book is one of “China’s National College Major Investment Textbook Series for the ‘Twelfth Five-Year Plan’”.

Pascal received a B.A. in Government cum laude from Harvard University and is a graduate of the Lawrenceville School with Academic Distinction (1977). He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a native of Puerto Rico who is fluent in Spanish and French.