When a Director Dashes
By Matthew Boyle

(FORTUNE Magazine) - Warren Buffett's Feb. 14 announcement that he was leaving Coca-Cola's (Research) board after 17 years was one of several high-profile departures so far this year. Here's the skinny on some others.

COMPANY AIG (Research)

DEPARTING DIRECTOR William Cohen, former Defense Secretary; Carla Hills (above right), former HUD Secretary

WHY THEY LEFT Both departures came amid AIG's settlement of fraud charges. Cohen and Hills had no comment.

THE FULL STORY A friend of ex-CEO Hank Greenberg, Hills, 72, is leaving three other boards (NOTE: Ms. Hills announced in late February 2006 that she was departing the Time Warner (Research) board of directors. Time Warner is the parent of CNNMoney.com). Cohen is now a busy D.C. consultant.

COMPANY Gap (Research)

DEPARTING DIRECTOR Meg Whitman (left), CEO of eBay (Research)

WHY THEY LEFT After three years, Whitman cited "other professional commitments."

THE FULL STORY Whitman backed the now embattled Paul Pressler for CEO. Regrets?

COMPANY GM (Research)

DEPARTING DIRECTOR Stanley O'Neal (center), CEO of Merrill Lynch (Research)

WHY THEY LEFT O'Neal pointed to potential conflicts with banking deals in which Merrill Lynch is involved, not to GM's woes.

THE FULL STORY Hmm. Merrill has done work for GM in the past. Will it take a lead role in the sale of GMAC?

COMPANY XM Radio (Research)

DEPARTING DIRECTOR Pierce "Jack" Roberts, former Bear Stearns (Research) banker

WHY THEY LEFT Roberts said he was "troubled" by the direction of the company and spoke of a "crisis on the horizon."

THE FULL STORY A longtime telecom banker, Roberts knows his stuff. XM had better hope that Oprah's magic touch rubs off. Top of page