Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Frances Townsend Goes Boarding

Frances Fragos Townsend sits on the governing board of two companies. One is publicly traded, the other a private subsidiary of an Italian firm. The companies are:

Scientific Games

DRS/Finmeccanica Defense Solutions

International lottery operator Scientific Games appointed Fran to their board on April 22, 2010. She stands to make $200,000 a year in compensation from SGMS, a public company. Frances received 10,000 shares in stock options upon her appointment. She serves on the Compliance Committee and the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee.

Cash strapped states may sell their lottery revenue stream to private infrastructure investors. It remains to be seen if Scientific Games or major owner MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings bid on any state lottery fire sales.

Frances and fellow SG Board member Bob Kerrey can chuckle over old times, especially Townsend's favor to Tenet Healthcare, where Kerrey also sits on the board of directors. As White House Homeland Security Advisor, Townsend omitted Tenet's Memorial Medical Center from her Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned report. Memorial lost 35 patients in the devastating storm, the highest hospital death toll. Tenet was responsible for 10 patients. The other 25 were LifeCare's, an affiliate of The Carlyle Group.

Townsend's omission worked to the risk management benefit of LifeCare and Tenet. Tenet lobbyists visited the White House while Fran crafted her report. They discussed corporate governance changes with senior Bush officials. Oddly, a year after the report's release, Jeb Bush landed a spot on the Tenet board. He was welcomed by Bob Kerrey.

As one of three members of SG's Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee, Kerrey was in a position to show Fran his gratitude. Committee minutes would show who put Townsend's name in the hat. They wouldn't be so gauche to state her past favor to connected corporate friends.

But on to Fran's other board slot, DRS/Finmeccanica. DRS Technologies was purchased by Finmeccanica in October 2008. Townsend's Baker Botts credentials show her as a proxy voting board member, but doesn't indicate her appointment date. Earlier this year, DRS Technologies reached $100 million in U.S. military orders. Did her Senior Advisor slot with Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) have any bearing on the Pentagon order?

Finmeccanica shows 6 divisions within the DRS brand. Townsend joins old friend General Peter Pace in providing guidance to Finmeccanica.

The Government-Corporate Monstrosity (GCM) grows. Many knew it as Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex. Federal budget steroids, injected the past decade, spread the GCM to health care, banking, infrastructure, intelligence, and homeland security.

Fran provided risk management for corporate friends while at the White House. She continues that service as a consultant for Baker Botts and paid corporate board member.

Most recently, Ms. Townsend provided consulting services and advice to corporate entities on Global Strategic Engagement and Risk as well as Crisis and Contingency planning.

She is consistent.

Update: Townsend was elected to the board of the Bipartisan Policy Center. They say they're lucky to have her talent and expertise. Did they read her hapless Lessons Learned report?

Update 2: Fran is Senior Advisor for Monument Capital, a D.C. based private equity underwriter.

Update 3:  Townsend was given the Paradigm Award by the Panhellenic Scholarship Foundation.

Update 11-22-10:  Townsend's latest title is  Senior Vice President, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.

Update 5-7-11:  According to SIGA Technologies proxy filing, Fran is now on the board of Thomson Reuters.  I'm pretty sure top management wouldn't allow investigative stories on a board member.