Avoiding Pitfalls in a Family Business
Christie Hefner, daughter of Hugh Hefner, is the former chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises.
During her tenure, Hefner restructured operations and initiated the Company's highly successful electronic and international expansion. The Company launched its branded channel in 1982, making Playboy the first magazine brand to be successfully leveraged into television. In 1994 led the Company onto the Internet when Playboy became the first national magazine on the World Wide Web.
Hefner is active in a number of local and national organizations. She was the first woman elected to the Chicago chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization. Hefner helped found the Committee of 200, an international organization of preeminent women business owners and executives. She serves on the boards of Rush University Medical Center, Canyon Ranch Health Resort, and on the board of governors of the Paley Center for Media. Hefner is also on the Advisory Boards of the American Civil Liberties Union and The Creative Coalition, and a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She also spent four years as project board chairman for the CORE Center, raising $30 million to build this innovative clinic and research facility, which opened in Chicago in the summer of 1998. The CORE Center conducts clinical research and provides prevention education and outpatient care for people with HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.
Hefner: Well, I think we are pretty good about avoiding the pitfalls. One pitfall that I’ve seen other companies fall into is to not have a strong independent board of directors, and I think that’s a huge mistake, even for private companies. Having really smart people with diverse backgrounds that are relevant to your industries and interests sitting on a board as a sounding board and as a strategic advisory board is in my view just an extraordinary asset and one that I always preach when I’m out talking to people like young presidents organization members. Because I think that when that isn’t true, that can be a weakness.
Christie Hefner says it’s important to have vocal outside directors.
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