Regents Cap Corporate Board Service

    Following up on a long-standing controversy, the UC Board of Regents approved an interim policy that limits corporate board service for senior UC employees to three paid boards. All executive employees seated on more than three compensatory boards, such as UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, must downsize their service to three by Dec. 31 or seek written approval from their supervisors.

    Fox currently serves on seven boards for compensation, and several other nonprofit boards. She first came under scrutiny for her board service in February 2006 when the San Diego Union-Tribune published a report stating that Fox had used more than her allotted vacation days to attend to board duties. Fox denied this.

    When Fox’s board service was first called into question, she defended her service as an unobtrusive accessory to university responsibilities. She also said that her board participation helps the university by establishing connections with important people and companies and, in a letter to the UCSD faculty, Fox stated that her board service enhances her leadership abilities.

    The new interim policy was enacted in response to public scrutiny and recommendations by the Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability and Transparency. The task force recommended that University of California should “”adopt specific limits on externally compensated activities.”” The policy is only in effect until a revised permanent policy is enacted. There is no word on when a revised policy will be put to a vote.

    Meanwhile, the interim policy’s restrictions are lenient toward senior employees who exceed the three-board limit, like Fox. According to the policy, Fox can ask her supervisors for an extension of the deadline, or she can ask the president of the university, ex-UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, and the chair of the compensation committee to allow her to continue her service indefinitely.

    Fox currently serves on the boards of Boston Scientific, Red Hat, W.R. Grace, Pharmaceutical Product Development, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Welch Foundation and the Dreyfus Foundation for compensation, along with several nonprofit others. Fox earned about $410,000 last year from her board service, in addition to her university salary of $373,500.

    Fox was unavailable for comment. A statement released through her office read, “”Chancellor Fox will of course adhere to the UC policy regarding board service policy, once it is finalized.””

    The previous UC policy had no limits on board service, as long as work occurred on vacation days.

    According to the Union-Tribune, Dynes supported the new policy, although he had originally approved Fox’s extensive board service when the issue was raised.

    Last year, Fox maintained that her commitment to UCSD is demonstrated by the numerous programs she has started, including a transfer housing project and a permanent home for the Cal-(IT)2. Fox also said she spends 60 to 70 hours per week working for UCSD.

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