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HEARD ON THE BEAT / CORPORATE

Taking Corporate Directorship Seriously

September 09, 1997|John O'Dell | John O'Dell covers major Orange County corporations and manufacturing for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5831 and at john.odell@latimes.com

Attend a few meetings at company expense, approve the president's pay package and take home a fat paycheck. Sounds like a great part-time job, and to hear the critics talk, that's what being a corporate director is to thousands of business executives who serve on corporate boards.

The criticisms have been taken to heart by many, though. In Orange County, the nation's largest organization for corporate directors is celebrating its sixth year and has just elected international trade finance specialist Richard Torre as its president.

The group is the Forum for Corporate Directors, and as of this week it counts 160 directors on its membership list, Torre said. It is dedicated to educating directors about their duties and the issues involved in corporate governance. The group holds more than a dozen breakfast forums, dinners and round-table discussions each year.

This year, Torre said, key issues for directors include compensation--theirs and that of companies' management--and the evolving role of directors in overseeing corporate management.

Torre, a Laguna Hills resident, was educated as a physicist and is founder of Global Capital Management Inc., an Irvine firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions and corporate and trade finance.

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