Thanks Dr. Fram (Policy Vs. Paperclips) for forwarding me another blogger's response to a writer whose nonprofit board is Chaired by the nonprofit's Executive.
Gene forwarded me the link with the observation he didn't think there were that many instances these days where the Chair and ED were the same person. Interesting point although now that I think about it, I'm not so sure this isn't still a relatively common event. I know a number of founder-run organizations where the ED is the Board Chair. To this person, the question is not why but why not? And, I think the other blog provides some reasonable explanations.
I'm not surprised. Folks do what they need to retain control of their idea. And what better way? But of course, the more central question is why the rest of the board, undoubtedly close friends or acquaintances, haven't raised their hands to say, "couldn't this work better if you are in one of the two positions." The bottom line, I believe, is that this situation is allowed to happen because in reality, there's only one person governing.