Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
8/15/2020

Article 8. Directors and Officers.

§ 13.1-853. Requirement for and duties of board of directors.

A. Except as provided in an agreement authorized by § 13.1-852.1, each corporation shall have a board of directors.

B. All corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the authority of, and the business and affairs of the corporation managed under the direction of, its board of directors, subject to any limitation set forth in the articles of incorporation or in an agreement authorized by § 13.1-852.1.

Code 1950, § 13.1-220; 1956, c. 428; 1983, c. 393; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-854. Qualification of directors.

The articles of incorporation or bylaws may prescribe qualifications for directors. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws so prescribe, a director need not be a resident of the Commonwealth or a member of the corporation.

Code 1950, § 13.1-220; 1956, c. 428; 1983, c. 393; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-855. Number and election of directors.

A. A board of directors shall consist of one or more individuals, with the number specified in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws, or if not specified in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws, with the number specified in or fixed in accordance with the articles of incorporation. The number of directors may be increased or decreased from time to time by amendment to the bylaws, unless the articles of incorporation provide that a change in the number of directors shall be made only by amendment of the articles of incorporation.

B. The members may adopt a bylaw fixing the number of directors and may direct that such bylaw not be amended by the board of directors.

C. The articles of incorporation or bylaws may establish a variable range for the size of the board of directors by fixing a minimum and maximum number of directors. If a variable range is established, the number of directors may be fixed or changed from time to time, within the minimum and maximum, by the members or the board of directors. However, to the extent that the corporation has members with voting privileges, only the members may change the range for the size of the board of directors or change from a fixed to a variable-range size board or vice versa.

D. Directors shall be elected or appointed in the manner provided in the articles of incorporation. If the corporation has members with voting privileges, directors shall be elected at the first annual members' meeting and at each annual meeting thereafter unless their terms are staggered under § 13.1-858.

E. No individual shall be named or elected as a director without his prior consent.

Code 1950, § 13.1-220; 1956, c. 428; 1983, c. 393; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171.

§ 13.1-856. Election of directors by certain classes of members.

If the articles of incorporation authorize dividing the members into classes, the articles may also authorize the election of all or a specified number of directors by the members of one or more authorized classes. Each class entitled to elect one or more directors is a separate voting group for purposes of the election of directors.

1985, c. 522.

§ 13.1-857. Terms of directors generally.

A. In the absence of a provision in the articles of incorporation fixing a term of office, the term of office for a director shall be one year.

B. The terms of the initial directors of a corporation expire at the first members' meeting at which directors are elected, or if there are no members or the corporation's members do not have voting rights, at the end of such other period as may be specified in the articles of incorporation.

C. The terms of all other directors expire at the next annual meeting of members following the directors' election unless their terms are staggered under § 13.1-858 or, if there are no members or the corporation's members do not have voting rights, as provided in the articles of incorporation.

D. A decrease in the number of directors does not shorten an incumbent director's term.

E. The term of a director elected by the board of directors to fill a vacancy expires at the next members' meeting at which directors are elected or, if there are no members or the corporation's members do not have voting rights, as provided in the articles of incorporation.

F. Except in the case of ex-officio directors, despite the expiration of a director's term, a director continues to serve until his successor is elected and qualifies or until there is a decrease in the number of directors, if any.

Code 1950, § 13.1-221; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1986, c. 529; 2004, c. 303; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-858. Staggered terms of directors.

A. The articles of incorporation may provide for staggering the terms of directors by dividing the total number of directors into groups, and the terms of office of the several groups need not be uniform.

B. If the articles of incorporation permit cumulative voting, any provision establishing staggered terms of directors shall provide that at least three directors shall be elected at each annual members' meeting.

Code 1950, § 13.1-221; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1987, c. 140; 1989, c. 419; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-859. Resignation of directors.

A. A director may resign at any time by delivering written notice to the board of directors, its chairman, the president, or the secretary.

B. A resignation is effective when the notice is delivered unless the notice specifies a later effective time. If a resignation is made effective at a later time, the board of directors may fill the pending vacancy before the effective time if the board of directors provides that the successor does not take office until the effective time.

C. Any person who has resigned as a director of a corporation, or whose name is incorrectly on file with the Commission as a director of a corporation, may file a statement to that effect with the Commission.

D. Upon the resignation of a director, the corporation may file an amended annual report with the Commission indicating the resignation of the director and the successor in office, if any.

1985, c. 522; 1991, c. 124; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-860. Removal of directors.

A. The members may remove one or more directors with or without cause, unless the articles of incorporation provide that directors may be removed only with cause.

B. If a director is elected by a voting group of members, only the members of that voting group may participate in the vote to remove him.

C. If cumulative voting is authorized, a director may not be removed if the number of votes sufficient to elect him under cumulative voting is voted against his removal. If cumulative voting is not authorized, unless the articles of incorporation require a greater vote, a director may be removed if the number of votes cast to remove him constitutes a majority of the votes entitled to be cast at an election of directors of the voting group or voting groups by which the director was elected.

D. If a corporation has no members or no members with voting rights, a director may be removed pursuant to procedures set forth in the articles of incorporation or bylaws, and if none are provided, a director may be removed by such vote as would suffice for his election.

E. A director may be removed only at a meeting called for the purpose of removing him. The meeting notice shall state that the purpose or one of the purposes of the meeting is removal of the director.

F. Upon the removal of a director, the corporation may file an amended annual report with the Commission indicating the removal of the director and the successor in office, if any.

Code 1950, § 13.1-221; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1987, c. 177; 1991, c. 124; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-861. Judicial review of elections.

Any member or director aggrieved by an election of directors may, after reasonable notice to the corporation and each director whose election is contested, apply for relief to the circuit court in the county or city in which the principal office of the corporation is located, or, if none in the Commonwealth, in the county or city in which its registered office is located. The court shall proceed forthwith in a summary way to hear and decide the issues and thereupon to determine the persons elected or order a new election or grant such other relief as may be equitable. Pending decision, the court may require the production of any information and may by order restrain any person from exercising the powers of a director if such relief is equitable.

Code 1950, § 13.1-221; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-862. Vacancy on board of directors.

A. Unless the articles of incorporation provide otherwise, if a vacancy occurs on the board of directors, including a vacancy resulting from an increase in the number of directors:

1. The members may fill the vacancy;

2. The board of directors may fill the vacancy; or

3. If the directors remaining in office constitute fewer than a quorum of the board, they may fill the vacancy by the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors remaining in office.

B. Unless the articles of incorporation provide otherwise, if the vacant office was held by a director elected by a voting group of members, only the members of that voting group are entitled to vote to fill the vacancy if it is filled by the members.

C. A vacancy that will occur at a specific later date, by reason of a resignation effective at a later date under subsection B of § 13.1-859 or otherwise, may be filled before the vacancy occurs but the new director may not take office until the vacancy occurs.

D. The corporation may file an amended annual report with the Commission indicating the filling of a vacancy.

Code 1950, § 13.1-222; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1991, c. 124; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-863. Compensation of directors.

Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide otherwise, the board of directors may fix the compensation of directors.

1985, c. 522.

§ 13.1-864. Meetings of the board of directors.

A. The board of directors may hold regular or special meetings in or out of the Commonwealth.

B. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide otherwise, the board of directors may permit any or all directors to participate in a regular or special meeting by, or conduct the meeting through the use of, any means of communication by which all directors participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting. A director participating in a meeting by this means is deemed to be present in person at the meeting.

Code 1950, § 13.1-225; 1956, c. 428; 1975, c. 500; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-865. Action without meeting of board of directors.

A. Except to the extent that the articles of incorporation or bylaws require that action by the board of directors be taken at a meeting, action required or permitted by this chapter to be taken by the board of directors may be taken without a meeting if each director signs a consent describing the action to be taken and delivers it to the corporation. However, if expressly authorized in the articles of incorporation, action required or permitted by this chapter to be taken by the board of directors may be taken without a meeting by fewer than all of the directors, but not less than the greater of (i) a majority of the directors in office or (ii) a quorum of the directors as required by the articles of incorporation or bylaws, if the requisite number of directors sign a consent describing the action to be taken and deliver it to the corporation, except such action shall not be permitted to be taken without a meeting if any director objects to the taking of such proposed action. To be effective, such objection shall have been delivered to the corporation no later than ten business days after notice of the proposed action is given. The corporation shall promptly notify each director of any such objection. Any actions taken without a meeting shall comply with any voting requirements established in the articles of incorporation or bylaws. If corporate action is to be taken under this subsection by fewer than all of the directors, the corporation shall give written notice of the proposed corporate action, not less than 10 business days before the action is taken, or such longer period as may be required by the articles of incorporation or bylaws, to all directors. The notice shall contain or be accompanied by a description of the action to be taken. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection, corporate action may not be taken by fewer than all of the directors without a meeting if the action also requires adoption by or approval of the members.

B. Action taken under this section is effective when the last director, or the last director sufficient to satisfy the requirements of subsection A if action by fewer than all of the directors is authorized, signs the consent, unless the consent specifies a different effective date, in which event the action taken is effective as of the date specified therein provided the consent states the date of execution by each director.

C. A director's consent may be withdrawn by a revocation signed by the director and delivered to the corporation prior to delivery to the corporation of unrevoked written consents signed by the requisite number of directors.

D. Any person, whether or not then a director, may provide that a consent to action as a director shall be effective at a future time, including the time when an event occurs, but such future time shall not be more than 60 days after such provision is made. Any such consent shall be deemed to have been made for purposes of this section at the future time so specified for the consent to be effective, provided that (i) the person is a director at such future time and (ii) the person did not revoke the consent prior to such future time. Any such consent may be revoked, in the manner provided in subsection C, prior to its becoming effective.

E. For purposes of this section, a written consent and the signing thereof may be accomplished by one or more electronic transmissions.

F. A consent signed under this section has the effect of action taken at a meeting of the board of directors and may be described as such in any document.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925; 2015, c. 611; 2016, c. 382.

§ 13.1-866. Notice of board of directors' meetings.

A. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide otherwise, regular meetings of the board of directors may be held without notice of the date, time, place, or purpose of the meeting.

B. Special meetings of the board of directors shall be held upon such notice as is prescribed in the articles of incorporation or bylaws, or when not inconsistent with the articles of incorporation or bylaws, by resolution of the board of directors. The notice need not describe the purpose of the special meeting unless required by the articles of incorporation or bylaws.

1985, c. 522; 2002, c. 285; 2007, c. 925; 2010, c. 171.

§ 13.1-867. Waiver of notice by director.

A. A director may waive any notice required by this Act, the articles of incorporation, or bylaws before or after the date and time stated in the notice, and such waiver shall be equivalent to the giving of such notice. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, the waiver shall be in writing, signed by the director entitled to the notice, and filed with the minutes or corporate records.

B. A director's attendance at or participation in a meeting waives any required notice to him of the meeting unless the director at the beginning of the meeting, or promptly upon his arrival, objects to holding the meeting or transacting business at the meeting and does not thereafter vote for or assent to action taken at the meeting.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-868. Quorum and voting by directors.

A. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws require a greater or lesser number for the transaction of all business or any particular business, or unless otherwise specifically provided in this Act, a quorum of a board of directors consists of:

1. A majority of the fixed number of directors if the corporation has a fixed board size; or

2. A majority of the number of directors prescribed, or if no number is prescribed, the number in office immediately before the meeting begins, if the corporation has a variable-range size board.

B. The articles of incorporation or bylaws may authorize a quorum of a board of directors to consist of no fewer than one-third of the fixed or prescribed number of directors determined under subsection A.

C. If a quorum is present when a vote is taken, the affirmative vote of a majority of directors present is the act of the board of directors unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws require the vote of a greater number of directors.

D. A director who is present at a meeting of the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors when corporate action is taken is deemed to have assented to the action taken unless:

1. The director objects at the beginning of the meeting, or promptly upon his arrival, to holding it or transacting specified business at the meeting; or

2. He votes against, or abstains from, the action taken.

E. Except as provided in § 13.1-852.1, a director shall not vote by proxy.

F. Whenever this Act requires the board of directors to take any action or to recommend or approve any proposed corporate act, such action, recommendation or approval shall not be required if the proposed action or corporate act is adopted by the unanimous consent of members.

Code 1950, § 13.1-223; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1992, c. 471; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-869. Committees.

A. Unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide otherwise, a board of directors may create one or more committees and appoint members of the board of directors to serve on them. Each committee shall have two or more members, who serve at the pleasure of the board of directors.

B. The creation of a committee and appointment of directors to it shall be approved by the greater number of (i) a majority of all the directors in office when the action is taken, or (ii) the number of directors required by the articles of incorporation or bylaws to take action under § 13.1-868.

C. Sections 13.1-864 through 13.1-868, which govern meetings, action without meetings, notice and waiver of notice, and quorum and voting requirements of the board of directors, apply to committees and their members as well.

D. To the extent specified by the board of directors or in the articles of incorporation or bylaws, each committee may exercise the authority of the board of directors under § 13.1-853, except that a committee may not:

1. Approve or recommend to members action that this Act requires to be approved by members;

2. Fill vacancies on the board or on any of its committees;

3. Amend the articles of incorporation pursuant to § 13.1-885;

4. Adopt, amend, or repeal the bylaws; or

5. Approve a plan of merger not requiring member approval.

E. The creation of, delegation of authority to, or action by a committee does not alone constitute compliance by a director with the standards of conduct described in § 13.1-870.

F. The board of directors may appoint one or more directors as alternate members of any committee to replace any absent or disqualified member during the member's absence or disqualification. Unless the articles of incorporation, the bylaws, or the resolution creating the committee provides otherwise, in the event of the absence or disqualification of a member of a committee, the member or members present at any meeting and not disqualified from voting may unanimously appoint another director to act in place of the absent or disqualified member.

Code 1950, § 13.1-224; 1956, c. 428; 1975, c. 500; 1977, c. 435; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-870. General standards of conduct for directors.

A. A director shall discharge his duties as a director, including his duties as a member of a committee, in accordance with his good faith business judgment of the best interests of the corporation.

B. Unless a director has knowledge or information concerning the matter in question that makes reliance unwarranted, a director is entitled to rely on information, opinions, reports or statements, including financial statements and other financial data, if prepared or presented by:

1. One or more officers or employees of the corporation whom the director believes, in good faith, to be reliable and competent in the matters presented;

2. Legal counsel, public accountants, or other persons as to matters the director believes, in good faith, are within the person's professional or expert competence; or

3. A committee of the board of directors of which the director is not a member if the director believes, in good faith, that the committee merits confidence.

C. A director is not liable for any action taken as a director, or any failure to take any action, if he performed the duties of his office in compliance with this section.

D. A person alleging a violation of this section has the burden of proving the violation.

1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-870.1. Limitation on liability of officers and directors; exception.

A. In any proceeding brought by or in the right of a corporation or brought by or on behalf of members of the corporation, the damages assessed against an officer or director arising out of a single transaction, occurrence, or course of conduct shall not exceed the lesser of:

1. The monetary amount, including the elimination of liability, specified in the articles of incorporation or, if approved by the members, in the bylaws as a limitation on or elimination of the liability of the officer or director; or

2. The greater of (i) $100,000, or (ii) the amount of the cash compensation received by the officer or director from the corporation during the 12 months immediately preceding the act or omission for which liability was imposed.

B. In any proceeding against an officer or director who receives compensation from a corporation exempt from income taxation under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code for his services as such, the damages assessed arising out of a single transaction, occurrence or course of conduct shall not exceed the amount of compensation received by the officer or director from the corporation during the 12 months immediately preceding the act or omission for which liability was imposed. An officer or director who serves such an exempt corporation without compensation for his services shall not be liable for damages in any such proceeding. The immunity provided by this subsection shall survive any termination, cancellation, or other discontinuance of the corporation.

C. The liability of an officer or director shall not be limited as provided in this section if the officer or director engaged in willful misconduct or a knowing violation of the criminal law.

D. No limitation on or elimination of liability adopted pursuant to this section may be affected by any amendment of the articles of incorporation or bylaws with respect to any act or omission occurring before such amendment.

E. 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, in any proceeding against an officer or director who receives compensation from a community association for his services, the damages assessed arising out of a single transaction, occurrence or course of conduct shall not exceed the amount of compensation received by the officer or director from the association during the 12 months immediately preceding the act or omission for which liability was imposed. An officer or director who serves such an association without compensation for his services shall not be liable for damages in any such proceeding.

2. The liability of an officer or director shall not be limited as provided in this subsection if the officer or director engaged in willful misconduct or a knowing violation of the criminal law.

3. As used in this subsection, "community association" shall mean a corporation incorporated under this Act that owns or has under its care, custody or control real estate subject to a recorded declaration of covenants which obligates a person, by virtue of ownership of specific real estate, to be a member of the incorporated association.

4. The immunity provided by this subsection shall survive any termination, cancellation, or other discontinuance of the community association.

1987, cc. 59, 257; 1988, c. 561; 1989, c. 422; 2007, c. 925; 2011, cc. 693, 704.

§ 13.1-870.2. Limitation on liability of officers and directors; additional exception.

A. As used in this section, "community association" shall mean an unincorporated association or corporation which owns or has under its care, custody or control real estate subject to a recorded declaration of covenants which obligates a person, by virtue of ownership of specific real estate, to be a member of the unincorporated association or corporation.

B. In any proceeding against an officer or director who receives compensation from a community association for his services as such, the damages assessed arising out of a single transaction, occurrence or course of conduct shall not exceed the amount of compensation received by the officer or director from the association during the 12 months immediately preceding the act or omission for which liability was imposed. An officer or director who serves such an association without compensation for his services shall not be liable for damages in any such proceeding.

C. The liability of an officer or director shall not be limited as provided in this section if the officer or director engaged in willful misconduct or a knowing violation of the criminal law.

D. The immunity provided by this section shall survive any termination, cancellation, or other discontinuance of the community association.

1989, c. 422; 2007, c. 925; 2011, cc. 693, 704.

§ 13.1-871. Director conflict of interests.

A. A conflict of interests transaction is a transaction with the corporation in which a director of the corporation has an interest that precludes him from being a disinterested director. A conflict of interests transaction is not voidable by the corporation solely because of the director's interest in the transaction if any one of the following is true:

1. The material facts of the transaction and the director's interest were disclosed or known to the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors and the board of directors or committee authorized, approved or ratified the transaction;

2. The material facts of the transaction and the director's interest were disclosed to the members entitled to vote and they authorized, approved or ratified the transaction; or

3. The transaction was fair to the corporation.

B. For purposes of subdivision A 1, a conflict of interests transaction is authorized, approved, or ratified if it receives the affirmative vote of a majority of the disinterested directors on the board of directors, or on the committee. A transaction shall not be authorized, approved, or ratified under this section by a single director. If a majority of the disinterested directors vote to authorize, approve or ratify the transaction, a quorum is present for the purpose of taking action under this section. The presence of, or a vote cast by, a director who is not disinterested does not affect the validity of any action taken under subdivision A 1 if the transaction is otherwise authorized, approved or ratified as provided in that subsection.

C. For purposes of subdivision A 2, a conflict of interests transaction is authorized, approved, or ratified if it receives the vote of a majority of the votes entitled to be counted under this subsection. The votes controlled by a director who is not disinterested may not be counted in a vote of members to determine whether to authorize, approve, or ratify a conflict of interests transaction under subdivision A 2. The director's votes, however, may be counted in determining whether the transaction is approved under other sections of this Act. A majority of the members, whether or not present, that are entitled to be counted in a vote on the transaction under this subsection constitutes a quorum for the purpose of taking action under this section.

Code 1950, § 13.1-223; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-871.1. Business opportunities.

A. A director's taking advantage, directly or indirectly, of a business opportunity may not be the subject of equitable relief or give rise to an award of damages or other sanctions against the director in a proceeding by or in the right of the corporation on the ground that such opportunity should have first been offered to the corporation, if before becoming legally obligated respecting the opportunity the director brings it to the attention of the corporation and:

1. Directors' action disclaiming the corporation's interest in the opportunity is taken in compliance with the procedures set forth in subdivision A 1 of § 13.1-871, as if the decision being made concerned a director's conflict of interests transaction; or

2. Members' action disclaiming the corporation's interest in the opportunity is taken in compliance with the procedures set forth in subdivision A 2 of § 13.1-871, as if the decision being made concerned a director's conflict of interests transaction.

B. In any proceeding seeking equitable relief or other remedies, based upon an alleged improper taking advantage of a business opportunity by a director, the fact that the director did not employ one of the procedures described in subsection A before taking advantage of the opportunity shall not create an inference that the opportunity should have been first presented to the corporation or alter the burden of proof otherwise applicable to establish that the director breached a duty to the corporation in the circumstances.

2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-872. Required officers.

A. Except as provided in an agreement authorized by § 13.1-852.1, a corporation shall have such officers with such titles and duties as shall be stated in the bylaws or in a resolution of the board of directors that is not inconsistent with the bylaws and as may be necessary to enable it to execute documents that comply with subsection F of § 13.1-804.

B. The board of directors may elect individuals to fill one or more offices of the corporation. An officer may appoint one or more officers or assistant officers if authorized by the bylaws or the board of directors.

C. The secretary or any other officer as designated in the bylaws or by resolution of the board shall have responsibility for preparing and maintaining custody of minutes of the directors' and members' meetings and for authenticating records of the corporation.

D. The same individual may simultaneously hold more than one office in the corporation.

Code 1950, § 13.1-226; 1956, c. 428; 1982, c. 372; 1985, c. 522; 1994, c. 189; 2007, c. 925.

§ 13.1-873. Duties of officers.

Each officer has the authority and shall perform the duties set forth in the bylaws or, to the extent consistent with the bylaws, the duties prescribed by the board of directors or by direction of an officer authorized by the board of directors to prescribe the duties of other officers.

1985, c. 522.

§ 13.1-874. Resignation and removal of officers.

A. An officer may resign at any time by delivering notice to the corporation. A resignation is effective when the notice is delivered unless the notice specifies a later effective time. If a resignation is made effective at a later time, the corporation may fill the pending vacancy before the effective time if the successor does not take office until the effective time.

B. A board of directors may remove any officer at any time with or without cause and any officer or assistant officer, if appointed by another officer, may likewise be removed by such officer. Election or appointment of an officer shall not of itself create any contract rights in the officer or the corporation. An officer's removal does not affect such officer's contract rights, if any, with the corporation. An officer's resignation does not affect the corporation's contract rights, if any, with the officer.

C. Any person who has resigned as an officer of a corporation, or whose name is incorrectly on file with the Commission as an officer of a corporation, may file a statement to that effect with the Commission.

D. Upon the resignation or removal of an officer, the corporation may file an amended annual report with the Commission indicating the resignation or removal of the officer and the successor in office, if any.

Code 1950, § 13.1-227; 1956, c. 428; 1985, c. 522; 1990, c. 282; 1991, c. 124; 2007, c. 925.

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