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University President Drew G. Faust has been nominated to serve on the Board of Directors of office supply store chain Staples, the company announced this week. Shareholders will vote on Faust’s nomination at the company’s annual meeting on June 4.
“We’re very pleased to nominate Dr. Faust to our Board of Directors,” said Staples Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ronald L. Sargent ’77 in a statement. “She will bring a unique perspective to our Board in leading a complex, global organization. Dr. Faust has extensive leadership and management experience related to capital planning, financial oversight, risk management, technology and strategy.”
Faust responded positively to the nomination and expressed confidence in her ability to take up another role.
“After five years as president I feel comfortable making a commitment to serving on another board where I can gain additional insight that might be beneficial to my role at Harvard,” she said in a statement.
In the past, university presidents have been criticized for serving on the boards of large corporations while president.
“That’s just a no-no,” Harvard Business School Professor Jay W. Lorsch told the Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this year. “You want to be as pure as Caesar’s wife. You don’t want to create, as a university president, any appearance of impropriety.”
The 12 directors received approximately $300,000 in compensation each in 2010, according to a report in the Boston Herald.
Faust’s recent nomination is not Harvard’s only connection to Staples, which is based 25 miles from Harvard Square in Framingham, Mass.
Founder and former CEO Thomas G. Stemberg ’71 served on the Board of Overseers’ Visiting Committee to the Business School, and is currently the honorary chairman of the Friends of Harvard Basketball.
In 2000, Stemberg dedicated the Harvard Square location of Staples in honor of several Harvard administrators who were responsible for his acceptance to the College.
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