Corporate Governance & Director Skills
Larry has held numerous corporate directorships in publicly-traded and privately-owned corporations engaged in such diverse industries as dairy processing, financial services, franchising and fast food (Custom Creamery, Orange Julius and Crescott, Inc.– all NASDAQ), mortgage banking, publishing, software and information technology, oil & gas (Comstock Resources, Inc., NYSE: CRK), and others. He served as Chairman of the Committee of Independent Directors in the sale of Orange Julius, Inc. to International Dairy Queen, now owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.
Selected other directorships include OZMA Corporation (Chairman); First Midwest Mortgage Corporation (Chairman); First Chesapeake Mortgage, Inc. (Vice Chairman); HomeLenders of America, Inc. (Vice Chairman); AmeriMac Corporation (Vice Chairman, sold to CrossLand Capital, at the time the largest U.S. savings institution east of the Mississippi River); IntelCap, Inc. (Chairman); and currently Cogent Information Analytics, Inc. (Chairman).
Recognized by the National Association of Corporate Directors for his many contributions to corporate governance, he served as President of the organization’s New York and Metropolitan Baltimore/Washington, DC chapters.
Accounting and Compliance Audits
A serial entrepreneur, Larry is responsible for over a dozen start-ups which have resulted in the creation of hundreds of new jobs. He is a founding director of Comstock Tunnel & Drainage Co. (now Comstock Resources, Inc. NYSE: CRK), beginning with a negative net worth of $32,000 (in 1985), and having reached a high market cap during recent years approximating $2 billion.
Legal and Securities Regulatory Compliance
Law school afforded him additional skills in the areas of agency and partnership, corporations, mergers and acquisitions, oil and gas, and securities regulations. He is author of numerous articles on the topics of law, finance and corporate governance.
Early in his career, having completed all course requirements necessary for the CPA, he worked at Disclosure, Inc. as a financial analyst under a contract with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, conducting financial analysis and abstracting and indexing certain financial statements and other disclosure items (Forms 10-K, 8-K, 10-Q, etc.) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
It was thirty years ago that he first became fascinated by the wisdom of Texas Instruments to have a standing Strategic Planning committee of the board. Texas Instruments at that time was very homogeneous, with almost every member having an engineering background. The TI Strategic Planning Committee was chaired by attorney Bryan Smith, Chancellor of the Texas University System and veteran director of numerous major boards such as Merrill Lynch and Texas Instruments, just to name a few. Conversations with Bryan Smith motivated him to write FOCUS ON THE FUTURE: THE STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE, National Association of Corporate Directors, Washington, Director’s Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 8, Sept. 1980 (NACD).
It appears universally agreed upon that nothing is more fundamental to the success of any enterprise than having a clearly communicated shared vision of where the corporation is headed, before there can be any chance of achieving these goals. Yet most boards have no “system” in place to nurture continuous thinking and decision making over-time or provide a systematized feedback loop as to progress against strategic goals (indeed to systematically assess whether the strategic assumptions remain sound, or need modification). This paradox is commonly restated by the axiom “if you don’t know where you are going, almost any road will take you there”. My advocating the presence of a standing strategic planning committee at the board level thirty years ago has obviously been a minority view since there has subsequently been an astonishing absence of such committees to be found among the corporate landscape.
However, “I’m going to stick with my view that in the long-term, absolutely nothing is more important than visionary thinking”, says Trautman. Constantly questioning assumptions about where we think we’re headed five years from now seems a fundamental foundation for ongoing decision making. Getting lost in the weeds of regulatory disclosure and making sure the accounting is correct does not go to the heart of anticipating the needs of your customer five years from now. Nor does near-term tunnel vision provide adequate resources so that you profitably meet the future needs of your customer before they are met by your competition.
Value and Job Creation
Workout and Turnaround Expertise