Does your board of directors matter when conducting an IPO? In a research paper (pdf) published with Dr. Colette Southam, we study the governance structure of over 1600 IPOs to determine the effects on IPO failure. We find three interesting effects. First, when the CEO and Chair (of the board) are separated, a deal is 4% less likely to fail. Investors prefer the added oversight of having these roles separated. We also find two important board characteristics that a firm can change before the IPO. As it turns out, the size of the board does NOT affect whether the IPO is completed, but having experienced board members makes the firm less likely to fail. Investors in the market examine the governance structure and consider it when deciding whether to invest in an IPO. If you are considering an IPO, it pays to separate your CEO and Chair roles, and to build a board of seasoned executives…simply adding more board members does not matter.