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The Director's Manual by William L. Sparks, Peter C. Browning

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Chapter 2Role of the Board

  • Home Depot's Leadership Question
  • Two Key Guiding Principles
  • Why Boards Exist
  • Three Critical Questions That Boards Ask:
    • Does the Company Have the Right CEO?
    • Is a Robust Succession Plan in Place?
    • Is the Company Following the Right Strategy?
  • Chapter Summary and What's Next

The Home Depot, the ubiquitous DYI (Do It Yourself) retailer, opened its first two cavernous 60,000-foot warehouse stores in Atlanta, Georgia, in June of 1979. At the time the concept of a one-stop home improvement store that focused on helping home project warriors refurbish bathrooms, replace doors and windows, build toolsheds, and complete a thousand other DYI projects clearly filled a marketplace niche. By 1989 the company had opened its 100th store, and by 1984 the company was listed as a publically traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (HD).

From the beginning, company founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank credited Home Depot's success on a focus on superior customer service provided by trained and knowledgeable associates who are able to offer on-the-spot assistance for almost any home project. This people-focused philosophy was at the center of the vision that Home Depot's founding team had for the company, which also included investment banker Ken Langone and merchandising star Pat Farrah.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the company grew at a brisk pace, making strategic acquisitions along the way. In 1994 Home Depot acquired Aikenhead's, ...

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