Should a corporate board, which is supposed to hold management accountable, include someone who considers the CEO to be her mentor? Governance experts can debate that after Barry Diller’s e-commerce power, IAC, said today that directors elected NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Chairman Bonnie Hammer to the board. Her relationship with Diller goes back to 1997 when she was at USA — one of the many networks she now oversees — and he bought the company from Seagram’s Edgar Bronfman. But Hammer has honed and demonstrated her own executive skills since 2001 when the operation was sold to Vivendi, and then in 2003 when it went to NBC. In addition to USA, her universe now includes Syfy, E! Entertainment, Bravo, Oxygen, Esquire Network, Sprout, Chiller and Cloo, as well as production entities Universal Cable Productions (UCP) and Wilshire Studios.
An IAC filing today says that Hammer received 3,548 restricted shares that vest over three years. She’s not the only member of the 13-member board with close ties to Diller. The group also includes Bronfman, former Disney chief Michael Eisner (one of the so-called “killer Dillers” when the two worked together at Paramount), Allen & Co’s Donald Keough, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, and Diller’s stepson Alexander von Furstenberg. Chelsea Clinton also is on the board.