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Opinion

Toshiba and SoftBank show the limits of board power

Independent directors can check rash management moves, not provide leadership

| Japan
Toshiba's logo in front of its headquarters in Tokyo: An independent board could not have eliminated the deeper causes of the company's decline.   © AP

Stephen Givens is a corporate lawyer based in Tokyo.

The recent troubles of Toshiba and SoftBank Group are useful reminders that independent boards of directors ultimately can have a limited impact on corporate success or failure. Like baseball umpires or exam proctors, they play a valuable role in helping to enforce rules and prevent cheating. But they do not hit home runs or get A's on their exams.

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