We founded Board Intelligence with one goal in mind: To help all boards to become the most powerful drivers of performance and a force for good. Big ambitions are never achieved alone and our investment partners are an important part of our story. We hope you’ll enjoy this interview with one of our investors, Jonathan Klahr, managing director of SGE, to give you a sense of the firm and his vision for our partnership.
Tell me about Susquehanna Growth Equity. What marks you out?
We’re a very different kind of investor and for a very simple reason: Our capital comes from one of the world’s largest, founder-led companies — a business the founders built over 35 years. Unlike a traditional fund that operates under investment mandates with strict time horizons, we’re free to take a patient and flexible approach with a focus on the longer-term vision of each company we back.
Why did you decide to back Board Intelligence?
We fell in love with the problem Board Intelligence exists to solve. I spend a lot of my life on boards and I’ve seen first-hand the waste of time that stems from poor quality reporting. Board Intelligence fixes this. We believe this is a problem worth fixing.
“I’ve seen first-hand the waste of time that stems from poor quality reporting.”
Why is it a problem worth fixing?
Because boards are a point of leverage. The ripple effect of an improvement in the boardroom will be felt far and wide, by customers, employees, society, and of course shareholders.
What is your biggest frustration with board meetings?
It is the sense of waste. The sense that management achieved nothing and that the board didn’t have the information it needed to really stand a chance of using the time well.
If you had a spare hour each day, what would you do with it?
I try to treat all my hours as spare hours. Too often, we tell ourselves that we’re trapped. “I’ve got to do this for work. For my boss. For my family. I don’t have a choice.” I see everything I do as a choice, and I am responsible for those choices. I enjoy my work. I enjoy reading, time with my family, exercise. It’s up to me to get the balance right.
When my kids describe something as happening to “them”, I push back. They must take responsibility for their choices. I’m sure I waste as much time as the next person, but I acknowledge my role in that.
What is your ambition for Board Intelligence?
To improve every single board in the world.
What is your Golden Rule?
Whenever I am faced with a moral dilemma, I ask myself, “What would my father do?” He was a successful, but also very honest landlord, who really took the time to get to know his tenants. They would tell him when they had a hard month and he’d cut them a break. He was good to people, and they repaid that. Alternatively, you can treat your tenants badly and they will torch the place on the way out. So, although it was good business, it was also a good way to live. He could sleep easy knowing that he did the right thing.