How Inovalon’s Board Of Directors Came Together

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Keith Dunleavy has grown Inovalon, a company that produces a cloud-based data analytics platform for the healthcare industry, significantly in 20 years as CEO. But he wouldn’t have done it without what he calls, “a phenomenal board of directors.”
Keith Dunleavy, CEO of Inovalon
Keith Dunleavy, CEO of Inovalon

Keith Dunleavy, MD, CEO of Inovalon, a company in Bowie, Maryland that produces a cloud-based data analytics platform for healthcare companies, has overseen incredible growth of his company. The company has ridden the wave of healthcare digitization thanks in large part to federal healthcare reform.

The data demand has driven the company’s growth (doubled revenue over the course of a 5-year period) and helped it go public in 2015. The company has never relied on private equity financing. More than that is just the sheer data its compiled into its system. The company claims it has run analytics on 941,000 physicians, 483,000 clinical facilities, 243 million Americans, and 38 billion medical events.

Corporate Board Member spoke to Dunleavy about the process going public, dealings with the board, and more. Below are excerpts from that interview. (For more on Dunleavy, visit our interview with him on Chief Executive).

You guys went public in 2015. Talk to me about your dealings with the board, and how the board came together.

It’s an area that we are very, very fortunate, and in a way that’s different than many other companies. So, Inovalon is a company that is very mission driven and vision driven. Remember, we built it from zero and we have done it without large, traditional, private equity financing. So, we have been very fortunate to ultimately arrive at a board of directors which, many would say, punch far above our weight. We have a phenomenal board of directors.

There are seven of us, total. Six of them are incredible people, like André Hoffmann, who’s vice chairman of Roche Pharmaceuticals, who has been a strong supporter of the company since 2004. And he is incredibly knowledgeable about the industry, a leader in the space, and [thinks] long term.

“I think that every person on a board should be there because they bring a point of view, a set of experiences, a set of opinions, that really need to be heard.”

We have people like Bill Green, the former CEO and chairman of Accenture, which is a world leader in, obviously, consulting, advisory, and systems integration. We have Bill Teuber, vice chairman of EMC. Denise Fletcher, the first female treasurer of an S&P 500 company, who is the phenomenal head of our audit committee. Lee Roberts built FileNet, and ultimately, helped it get acquired by IBM. And Mark Pulido who was a CEO of our recent acquisition, ABILITY Network, and formerly, a CEO of McKesson, one of the leaders in the healthcare space.

So, we have a board that are leaders in their space, but they are here because they believe in the mission and vision. And they’re not here on assignment from a large, private equity company or a large investor, if you will. So, that has given me, and us, a great insight of support, advice, guidance, independent thinking. I am extremely fortunate to have our board.

What advice do you have for CEOs about working with the board, especially if they’re interested in going public and really starting down this process?

I think that part of that answer would depend upon how much the CEO has the liberty of helping to craft the board versus work within a board that they have been dealt. I was very fortunate to be able to have the benefit of building this board over years and getting to know each member. And so, my advice to a CEO that is considering going public would be to very sincerely invite the input and advice of the board and truly go out of your way to make sure that each board member knows that their input is appreciated, respected, and valued.

I think that every person on a board should be there because they bring a point of view, a set of experiences, a set of opinions, that really need to be heard. And they need to feel that they are being heard so that, ultimately, one can arrive at, not necessarily the direction that one board member versus another board member wants, but an informed thinking of how the company should progress.

Read more: Board Diversity Propels Performance

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