have turned into primal screams of pain. (“I SERIOUSLY CANNOT TAKE THIS WITH SBA ANY LONGER” is one of the milder replies.) She said she understood the urgency.

“It’s definitely unprecedented — across the board, across the nation — and we are seeing multiple disasters at the same time,” she said. “The agency is highly focused on just still responding to disaster and implementing this relief as quickly as possible.”

This is Ms. Guzman’s second tour at the Small Business Administration. When President Barack Obama picked Maria Contreras-Sweet in 2014 to take over the agency, Ms. Guzman went along as a senior adviser and deputy chief of staff. The women had met in the mid-1990s. Ms. Guzman, a California native with an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, was hired at 7Up/RC Bottling by Ms. Contreras-Sweet, an executive there.

“I was always impressed with her ability to handle jobs with steep learning curves — she has a quick grasp of complex concepts,” Ms. Contreras-Sweet said.

Ms. Guzman spent her first stint at the agency focused on traditional projects like its flagship lending program, which normally facilitates around $28 billion a year in loans. The time, the job is radically different.

community navigators” program, which will fund local organizations, including nonprofits and government groups, to work closely with businesses owned by people with disabilities or in underserved rural, minority and immigrant communities. It’s an expansion of a grass-roots effort by several nonprofits to get vulnerable businesses access to Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Ms. Guzman said she was bullish about that effort and other agency priorities, like expanding Black and other minority entrepreneurs’ access to capital — but first, like the clients it serves, the Small Business Administration has to weather the pandemic.

And to do that, it has to stop shooting itself in the foot.

The much-awaited second attempt at opening the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant fund was preceded by one final debacle: The agency announced — and then, less than a day before the date, abandoned — a plan to open the first-come-first-served fund on a Saturday. For those seeking aid that has not yet arrived, the incident felt like yet another kick in the teeth.

Ms. Guzman said she was aware of the need for her agency to overcome its limitations and rebuild its checkered reputation.

“This is a pivotal moment in time where we can leverage the interest in small business to really deliver a remarkable agency to them,” she said. “I value being the voice for the 30 million small and innovative start-ups around the country. What I always say to my staff is that I want these businesses to feel like the giants that they are in our economy.”

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A Tally of Resignations Tied to the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

When Jeffrey Epstein gave The Times columnist James Stewart a tour of his apartment a few years ago, he boasted of his expansive Rolodex of billionaires — and the dirt he had on them. A year and a half after the financier’s death by suicide in a New York jail, the fallout for those in the registered sex offender’s orbit, and increasingly those a step or two removed from it, continues to spread.

For example, the latest management reshuffle at Apollo, as we reported yesterday, can be linked back to Epstein. Tracing all the resignations and reshuffles directly and indirectly tied to the scandal will take a while (we’re working on it), but here’s a tally of some so far:

  • The Apollo co-founder Leon Black said in January that he would resign as C.E.O. but stay on as chairman, after an internal inquiry found he had paid $158 million to Epstein for tax advice. He unexpectedly quit both posts in March, and later stepped down as chairman of the Museum of Modern Art. Josh Harris, a fellow co-founder who had unsuccessfully pushed Black to quit immediately, said yesterday that he was stepping back from Apollo after failing to become the next C.E.O.; Marc Rowan, Apollo’s third co-founder and Black’s pick as successor, now leads the firm.

  • When the details of meetings between Epstein and Bill Gates burst into public view in late 2019, the billionaire’s wife, Melinda French Gates, hired divorce lawyers. The couple’s split, announced this month, could upend their numerous investments and philanthropic ventures

  • Les Wexner announced last February that he would step down as C.E.O. of the Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, under pressure from multiple internal investigations about his close ties to Epstein. Earlier this year, he and his wife, Abigail Wexner, said they would not stand for re-election to the L Brands board this month. (The company is now in the process of spinning off Victoria’s Secret.) Mr. Wexner was Epstein’s biggest early client and, a Times investigation found, the original source of the financier’s wealth.

  • Prince Andrew of Britain gave up his public duties last November, days after a disastrous interview with the BBC centered on his relationship with Epstein. At least 47 charities and nonprofits of which he was a patron have since cut ties to the prince.

  • Joi Ito resigned as the director of the M.I.T. Media Lab, a prominent research group, in 2019 and as member of several corporate boards (including The New York Times Co.), after acknowledging that he had received $1.7 million in investments from Epstein.

  • Alexander Acosta resigned as Donald Trump’s labor secretary in 2019, amid criticism of his handling of a 2008 sex crimes case against Epstein when he was a federal prosecutor in Miami.

Morgan Stanley sets up its C.E.O. succession competition. The Wall Street firm gave new roles to four top executives, marking them as candidates to take over from James Gorman: Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein were named co-presidents; Jonathan Pruzan was named C.O.O.; and Dan Simkowitz was named co-head of strategy with Pick.

The U.S. endorses a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent. The proposal, which was lower than some had expected, is closely tied to the Biden administration’s plans to raise the corporate tax rate. Global coordination would discourage multinationals from shifting to tax havens overseas.

Treasury officials said they could capture at least $700 billion in additional revenue. That would involve hiring 5,000 new I.R.S. agents, imposing new rules on reporting crypto transactions and other measures.

U.S. customs officials block a Uniqlo shipment over Chinese forced labor concerns. Agents at the Port of Los Angeles acted under an order prohibiting imports of cotton items produced in the Xinjiang region.

U.S. steel prices are soaring. After years of job losses and mill closures, American steel producers have enjoyed a reversal of fortune: Nucor, for instance, is the year’s top-performing stock in the S&P 500. Credit goes to industry consolidation, a recovering economy and Trump-era tariffs. Unsurprisingly, steel consumers aren’t thrilled about it.

Oprah Winfrey to Blackstone, made its stock market debut yesterday, ending its first trading session with a valuation of about $13 billion. DealBook spoke with Oatly’s C.E.O., Toni Petersson, about the I.P.O. and what’s next for the company.

resignation letter offering both praise of SoftBank’s chief, Masa Son — and unusually pointed criticism of the company’s corporate governance.


It’s been a while since we checked in on an alternative indicator of pandemic economic activity: the share price ratio of Clorox to Dave & Buster’s.

Wait, what? Nick Mazing, the director of research at the data provider Sentieo, came up with that metric to gauge the openness of the economy. The higher Clorox’s share price rises relative to Dave & Buster’s, the more people appear to be staying home and disinfecting everything than going out to crowded bars. By this measure, conditions have nearly returned to prepandemic levels — indeed, Dave & Buster’s recently lifted its sales forecast, as nearly all of its beer-and-arcade bars have reopened.

packed concert schedule, selling tickets to people who may have already binge-watched all of “Below Deck.” The second, however, suggests that people aren’t as eager to get back to huffing and puffing at the gym as they are content to exercise at home. As restrictions lift and people feel safer in crowds, drinking and dancing appear to be higher priorities.

new book, “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment,” the Princeton psychology professor and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, along with co-authors Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein, argue that these inconsistencies have enormous and avoidable consequences. Kahneman spoke to DealBook about how to hone judgment and reduce noise.

DealBook: What is “noise” in this context?

Kahneman: It’s unwanted and unpredictable variability in judgments about the same situations. Some decisions and solutions are better than others and there are situations where everyone should be aiming at the same target.

Can you give some examples?

A basic example is the criminal justice system, which is essentially a machine for producing sentences for people convicted of crimes. The punishments should not be too different for the same crime yet sentencing turns out to depend on the judge and their mood and characteristics. Similarly, doctors looking at the same X-ray should not be reaching completely different conclusions.

How do individuals or institutions detect this noise?

You detect noise in a set of measurements and can run an experiment. Present underwriters with the same policy to evaluate and see what they say. You don’t want a price so high that you don’t get the business or one so low that it represents a risk. Noise costs institutions. One underwriter’s decision about one policy will not tell you about variability. But many underwriters’ decisions about the same cases will reveal noise.

WSJ)

  • An arm of Goldman Sachs has raised $3 billion from clients to invest in later-stage start-ups. (WSJ)

  • SPACs have raised $100 billion this year through May 19, a record, but new fund listings dropped sharply last month. (Insider)

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    Josh Harris Steps Down From Apollo

    Vegan milk is now a multibillion-dollar business on Wall Street. Oatly, the oat milk maker, priced its I.P.O. at $17 a share, the top end of its range, valuing it at about $10 billion. Part of the reason it appeared to avoid broader market declines is that it courted investors focused on so-called E.S.G. principles.

    Even by Bitcoin’s standards, it’s been a wild week. A particularly steep drop in the cryptocurrency yesterday seemed to drag the entire market down with it, and the frenzy led to outages at big exchanges like Binance and Coinbase. Then, it came roaring back in late trading (Elon Musk tweeted about it) and has held the gains so far today. Still, Bitcoin is down by about a third from the all-time high it set just over a week ago.

    The episode proves the point of skeptics that digital assets are too volatile to be taken seriously, and of die-hard supporters who say that the ups and downs come with the territory. DealBook spoke with Changpeng “C.Z.” Zhao, the C.E.O. of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, about what it all means.

    “It was a busy day but it happens,” C.Z. said. “I think it’s pretty typical.” It’s a commonly held belief among the crypto crowd that big corrections are part of the journey to new heights. “If you look at 2017, where there was a bull market, there were at least two instances of 40 percent drawdowns,” he said. New investors rushing in “may or may not be fully committed” but he believes it’s good for the markets to “shake out” the jittery types.

    Lawmakers aren’t so sure. Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee chair, Sherrod Brown — a crypto skeptic — wrote to the acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, with concerns about crypto companies getting approved for national trust charters. In particular, Brown mentioned that the approvals came under the former acting comptroller, Brian Brooks, who once worked for Coinbase and recently became the C.E.O. of Binance’s U.S. division.

    All eyes are on the regulators. One factor in yesterday’s crash appeared to be a warning from China’s central bank that reiterated the ban on financial institutions in the country dealing in cryptocurrencies. Many of the crypto market’s ups and downs come amid questions about regulation driving mainstream acceptance (or not), as when the launch of a Bitcoin futures exchange in 2017 accompanied the last big run-up in crypto prices.


    — Joseph Blount, the C.E.O. of Colonial Pipeline, in his first public interview about paying a ransom to hackers after a cyberattack crippled its systems. Colonial paid in Bitcoin worth $4.4 million, but the decryption tool it received in return didn’t immediately work, and the pipeline was shut for six days.

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    TikTok’s Owner, ByteDance, Says C.E.O. Zhang Yiming Will Resign

    Zhang Yiming, who helped found TikTok’s parent company, the Chinese internet conglomerate ByteDance, and turned it into a globe-straddling giant, will step down as chief executive at the end of the year to focus on long-term strategy, he wrote in a letter to employees dated Wednesday.

    ByteDance’s co-founder and head of human resources, Liang Rubo, will take the reins as chief executive.

    “After handing over my role as C.E.O., and removing myself from the responsibilities of daily management, I will have the space to explore long-term strategies, organizational culture and social responsibility, with a more objective perspective on the company,” Mr. Zhang wrote.

    Mr. Zhang, 38, is also ByteDance’s chairman. The letter, which ByteDance posted on its website, did not address whether the leadership transition would affect his role in that position.

    ByteDance, founded in 2012, is China’s first truly global internet company. With TikTok, it has achieved a level of commercial success and cultural influence that none of the country’s other tech powerhouses have managed outside China’s borders.

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    McDonald’s Board Faces Challenge Over C.E.O. Firing

    Despite posting robust revenue and earnings during the pandemic of the past year, executives at McDonald’s are likely to face tough questions at Thursday’s annual shareholder meeting from critics who believed they mishandled the dismissal of the former chief executive Steve Easterbrook.

    On Wednesday, the institutional investor Neuberger Berman became the latest investor to say it would not vote for the re-election of Richard Lenny, a former chief executive of the Hershey Company who has been on the McDonald’s board for 16 years and was chair of the compensation committee that awarded Mr. Easterbrook more than $44 million after he was terminated in 2019 for having a consensual sexual relationship with an employee.

    The board, which allowed the severance to be awarded even after determining Mr. Easterbrook had violated company policy and displayed poor judgment, later discovered he had engaged in several affairs with employees during his tenure. McDonald’s has sued Mr. Easterbrook to try to claw back the money.

    The Easterbrook scandal is likely to be just one of the issues about the company’s culture brought up during the virtual meeting.

    minimum wage to $15 an hour. The company is also facing myriad lawsuits involving claims of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment at some of its restaurants.

    McDonald’s leadership is likely to play up its strong performance during the pandemic, taking a victory lap for producing a $4.7 billion profit during a rough-and-tumble year for the restaurant industry.

    McDonald’s chief executive, Chris Kempczinski, who was hired in 2015 from Kraft Foods as a strategy chief and reported directly to Mr. Easterbrook, has made several moves in recent months to address the numerous controversies.

    In February, the company set new diversity goals and tied those goals to executive compensation. In April, it mandated anti-harassment training at its restaurants. And last week, it said it would raise wages at 650 company-owned restaurants, a move that does not affect the 14,000 restaurants that are independently owned.

    Still, questions continue to swirl around Mr. Easterbrook’s departure in November of 2019.

    In April, Scott Stringer, New York City’s comptroller who oversees its pension funds, and CtW Investment Group, which oversees union pensions, wrote a letter to McDonald’s shareholders saying they would vote against Mr. Lenny as well as Enrique Hernandez Jr., the chief executive of Inter-Con Security Systems and McDonald’s chairman. They cited their roles in the “flawed and mismanaged investigation” into Mr. Easterbrook and the determination to terminate him “without cause,” resulting in an “unnecessary and costly” lawsuit filed in an attempt to recoup the money from Mr. Easterbrook.

    In an emailed statement, McDonald’s said that its board believes there should be a balance of institutional knowledge and fresh perspectives among its directors, and that it is fully investigating all allegations of misconduct by Mr. Easterbrook and “has taken swift and unprecedented actions to address them.”

    Whether the movement to oust Mr. Hernandez or Mr. Lenny from their seats has enough support remains unclear.

    Two of the largest proxy advisory firms split their decision about the McDonald’s directors, with Glass Lewis recommending that shareholders vote against the two directors. Institutional Shareholder Services said both directors should keep their positions, giving the board credit for taking legal action to recoup the severance pay from Mr. Easterbrook.

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    An Old-School Media Titan Pushes Aside an Upstart

    Mr. Kilar, 50, fashioned himself as a disrupter inclined to break with the status quo in the pursuit of innovation. He became the chief executive of WarnerMedia in April 2020. He previously had started a video streaming company called Vessel and had managed Hulu, where he gained a reputation for thwarting the desires of the entrenched media executives overseeing the company.

    HBO Max made a lackluster debut just two months after his arrival at WarnerMedia. By August, Mr. Kilar dismissed Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, two longtime television executives who were in charge of the streaming service’s programming. Mr. Kilar also laid off some 1,000 employees.

    Those inside the company credit Mr. Kilar with two important decisions that have better positioned the company in the current media climate. He oriented all the divisions around HBO Max. He also hammered on the importance of making HBO Max a global streaming service, accelerating its rollout. HBO Max is set to expand into Latin America and the Caribbean next month. The European launch is scheduled for later this year.

    But now the television veterans are in control.

    Mr. Zaslav has run Discovery since 2007. He started his media career in 1989 at NBC, ultimately helping to create cable networks like CNBC and MSNBC and expanding USA and Bravo around the world. Known for celebrity-strewn parties at his East Hampton, N.Y., estate, Mr. Zaslav has long been one of the highest-paid chief executives in media. Last year, his compensation totaled $37.7 million. In 2018, when he signed a new contract, he received more than $100 million in Discovery stock.

    Richard Gelfond, the chief executive of Imax, predicted in a CNBC interview that Mr. Zaslav would bring a “diplomatic soft touch” to WarnerMedia’s shifting movie releasing strategy. “He’s been an innovator, but he knows how to do it within the confines of the existing system,” Mr. Gelfond said.

    Pulling strings in the background, per his style, will be Mr. Malone.

    Nicknamed the “cable cowboy,” in part because his base of operation is in Colorado, Mr. Malone, 80, is the consummate deal maker. Mr. Zaslav in Monday’s call described him as “a teacher, and a best friend and really a father to me.” He has a reputation for putting together complex transactions that limit his tax exposure. He began amassing his fortune in 1973 when he took over Tele-Communications Inc., an almost-bankrupt cable company that he grew and then sold to AT&T in 1998 for $32 billion. A subsidiary, Liberty Media, was spun off into its own entity with Mr. Malone at the helm.

    Liberty holds significant stakes in a variety of entertainment companies, including Discovery, the Atlanta Braves and SiriusXM. The company purchased Formula One racing in 2016 for $4.4 billion. And in 2017, Discovery purchased Scripps Network Interactive for $11.9 billion, which added HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network to its media arsenal.

    In 2019, after selling his shares of Lionsgate, Mr. Malone increased his ownership of Discovery, purchasing $75 million of additional shares for a total 23 percent stake.

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    Jason Kilar, the WarnerMedia Chief, Is Said to Be Negotiating His Exit

    Jason Kilar has hired a legal team to negotiate his departure as chief executive of WarnerMedia, according to two people briefed on the matter. AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia, said on Monday that it had agreed to spin off the division and merge it with a rival media company, Discovery Inc.

    Mr. Kilar was kept in the dark about the deal until recent days, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

    A spokeswoman for WarnerMedia declined to comment.

    The new company will be run by David Zaslav, 60, a media veteran and the longtime chief executive of Discovery. Mr. Zaslav and AT&T’s chief executive, John Stankey, had met over the last few months “secretly from my brownstone in Greenwich Village,” Mr. Zaslav said on a call with reporters on Monday.

    Mr. Kilar, 50, was hired to run AT&T’s media group only last year. He formerly held senior jobs at Hulu and Amazon.

    “Jason is a fantastic talent,” Mr. Zaslav said on the call with reporters following the announcement.

    Mr. Stankey noted on the call that Mr. Kilar remained the chief executive of WarnerMedia, though he added, “David’s got a lot of decisions to make on personnel.”

    Mr. Kilar on Monday morning sent a rallying-the-troops memo to WarnerMedia staff that called the merger “momentous news.” He did not get into his own future at the company.

    “I recognize it will take all we’ve got to keep our collective focus on the mission,” the memo concluded. “We can do it.”

    He added a smiley face emoticon.

    John Koblin contributed reporting.

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    Washington Post Picks Sally Buzbee as Top Editor

    The Post’s search for an executive editor, led by Mr. Ryan, started at the end of January, when Mr. Baron gave a month’s notice, saying, “At age 66, I feel ready to move on.” Mr. Bezos met with final candidates in recent days, and Ms. Buzbee said she had an interview with him in Washington before signing on for the job.

    “Every indication I’ve gotten, everything I’ve seen, is that he believes in the importance of an independent newsroom,” Ms. Buzbee said of Mr. Bezos in an interview on Tuesday.

    She said it was “a huge honor” to be the first woman to lead The Post’s newsroom.

    “Every day when I work, I am conscious of the women who came before me in this profession that we love so much and who broke down so many barriers,” Ms. Buzbee said. “And I am grateful to them pretty much every day of my life, because I know that it took work and guts, and I really do feel that they paved the way for things that are happening now.”

    Ms. Buzbee was also considered this year for the top newsroom job at The Los Angeles Times, which went this month to ESPN’s Kevin Merida, a former managing editor of The Post.

    She was born in Walla Walla, Wash., and grew up in the Bay Area and the suburbs of Dallas and Kansas City. She graduated from high school in Olathe, Kan., before getting a journalism degree at the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

    Her husband, John Buzbee, a Foreign Service officer and Middle East specialist, died in 2016. Her father-in-law, Richard Buzbee, who died in 2018, was the publisher and editor of The Hutchinson News and Olathe Daily News in Kansas.

    Ms. Buzbee, who has been working out of New York, will move to Washington when she takes the Post job. The A.P. said in a statement that it would start a search for her successor immediately. The A.P.’s president and chief executive, Gary Pruitt, said in a statement that Ms. Buzbee had been “an exceptional leader.”

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    Teen Vogue Names Versha Sharma as Its Top Editor

    The last person hired as the top editor of Teen Vogue resigned before her start date. Now, the wide-ranging Condé Nast online publication is trying again, with the announcement on Monday that Versha Sharma, a managing editor at the news website NowThis, will be its next editor in chief.

    “Versha is a natural leader with a global perspective and deep understanding of local trends and issues — from politics and activism to culture and fashion — and their importance to our audience,” Anna Wintour, the global editorial director of Vogue and the chief content officer of Condé Nast, said in a statement.

    Ms. Sharma, 34, was in charge of news and cultural coverage at NowThis, a site owned by Group Nine Media, the publisher of Thrillist, The Dodo, Seeker and PopSugar. She was part of a team that received an Edward R. Murrow award in 2018 for a documentary on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

    She was named to the job nearly two months after Alexi McCammond, a former Axios journalist, resigned after more than 20 Teen Vogue staff members publicly condemned tweets she had posted a decade earlier.

    a note to readers in April acknowledging “the pain and frustration caused by resurfaced social media posts.” She added that the staff of the publication, which is known as much for its progressive stances and essays on social issues as its fashion and beauty coverage, would “evolve with our readers, because we can’t be the young person’s guide to saving the world without you.”

    Ms. Sharma is on the board of the Online News Association and previously worked for TalkingPointsMemo, MSNBC.com and Vocativ. Her start date at Teen Vogue is May 24.

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    Help Wanted: Someone With Money and Connections

    So you’ve been asked to become a director of a special purpose acquisition company, more commonly known as a SPAC. The job has something in common with being a director of a company. But there’s one big difference: Instead of overseeing a company that is building, selling or creating something, you’re in charge of a big pot of money.

    Sure, being asked to become a director of a SPAC is a coveted brass ring in certain circles. In return, you’ll be asked to contribute knowledge and capital to the SPAC, whose sole purpose is to find a company that wants to go public within two years. At that point, you’ll most likely no longer be a director.

    If it all works out, you can make a lot of money. But there are also risks — the biggest one being not finding a high-quality company in time that wants to merge with your SPAC.

    So what should you do if you’re asked to be a director of one of these entities? The first thing is to know who else is on the board and to be sure you understand that SPAC’s mission, according a report from the Cresset wealth management firm.

    Navigation Capital Partners, which specializes in SPACs. “I think there are too many people in SPACs right now, and we’ll see a lot of them fail to do deals.”

    He added, “There are celebrities lending their names to SPACs when they don’t even know what the business is.”

    A SPAC exists solely to acquire a single, mature company and make it a public company through a reverse merger, since the SPAC is already public. As a director, your job isn’t to keep an eye on the company’s management team; it’s to find a company with an already solid management team that is ready to go. Once the reverse merger occurs, the SPAC is dissolved and the job of many of its directors is done — albeit with a hopefully sizable payout for their work.

    taken public, more than the 248 offerings in all of last year and up from 59 in 2019. There has been some talk of the ardor cooling for SPACs, but they remain a way for the wealthy to make returns they can’t get elsewhere.

    The increase in companies going public through SPACs was initially driven by companies’ inability during the pandemic to travel for the traditional roadshow associated with an initial public offering. The number of SPACs has continued to grow because they offer a means for mature companies to go public without the traditional filings for an I.P.O. (though the process of being acquired by a SPAC is certainly not without paperwork and legal counsel).

    But given the proliferation of SPACs, the S.E.C. has tightened the rules, particularly those relating to the forecasts the SPACs make about their progress toward merging with a company and how certain classes of shares in the SPAC are treated for accounting purposes. These tighter rules are good for some SPACs and their directors, and not so good for others.

    “The S.E.C. is getting a bit nervous,” said Jennifer Ceran, who is on the board of Plum Acquisition, a SPAC focused on finding a technology company, and was previously the chief financial officer of Smartsheet and Coupons.com, two technology companies she helped take public. “Your forecasts have to be based on sound data. As operators, I’ve lived my career giving multiyear forecasts and given reports to our company.”

    Directors of a SPAC are not joining an existing public company or a private company with plans to go public. They’re joining an entity with ideas, aspirations and money — but no cash flow.

    The directors are expected to use their own industry knowledge and connections to help find a company to merge with. “One of the important elements of being a director is not just industry experience but also really good networks,” Ms. Ceran said. “You want the management team and the board to have connections. You need to have people involved in your SPAC who have been operators at companies and are not just transaction folks.”

    Vin Murria, a technology entrepreneur in London who has taken three companies public through the traditional listing process, said several SPACs had approached her because they wanted to tap her knowledge of the European market.

    “I can do some great introduction in the European technology space,” Ms. Murria said. “I know pretty much everyone, in a positive way.”

    Simply put, the directors of a SPAC are expected to be a dream team. Culled from related but distinct industries, their expertise is meant to help find the company, woo the founders and bring it public in a reverse merger. Think of the movie “Ocean’s Eleven,” where everyone brought a different skill to pull off the heist.

    Directors are generally among the group that puts up risk capital, which is the cash to help the SPAC fund its search for a company to take public. In turn, they are given an allocation of shares before the SPAC itself goes public. Shares in the SPAC are also how the directors are compensated — in lieu of traditional payments to directors.

    In theory, at least, the SPAC will identify a company to buy and bring in some additional capital from what’s known as the PIPE market — or private investment in public equity — and then the company takes over the public listing and the SPAC fades away.

    But how many SPACs are going to fail to find a company to acquire in the required two years, and what are the repercussions for the directors who are held to the standards of any public company director?

    Because a director on a SPAC board is a temporary position, knowing who your partners will be is even more important, said Louise Sams, a retired executive vice president and general counsel of Turner Broadcasting System. She sits on the boards of two public companies as well as D&Z Media Acquisition, a SPAC.

    “You have to think about the management team,” she said. “What law firm are they using? What investment bank are they using? What’s your comfort level with all of those people? As long as your comfort level is high, then you should join.”

    Ms. Sams said it was important for her to know that the other directors came with knowledge and connections that could help the SPAC find a company. “You need to know what you’re bringing to the table,” she said.

    Because once you get to the table, it’s a sprint to find a company and fulfill your mission.

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