A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. The body sometimes has a different name, such as board of trustees, board of governors, board of managers, or executive board. It is often simply referred to as the board.
A board's activities are determined by the powers, duties, and responsibilities delegated to it or conferred on it by an authority outside itself. These matters are typically detailed in the organization's bylaws. The bylaws commonly also specify the number of members of the board and when they are to meet.
In an organization with voting members, e.g., a professional society, the board acts on behalf of, and is subordinate to, which usually chooses the members of the board. The legal responsibilities of boards and board members vary with the nature of the organization, and with the jurisdiction within which it operates.
In a stock corporation, the board is elected by the stockholders and is the highest authority in the management of the corporation. In a nonstick corporation with no general voting membership, e.g., a university, the board is the supreme governing body of the institution.