Spencer Stuart: Finding the Right Fit

In this era of rapid technological change and market disruption, boards have their work cut out to keep pace with what is happening in their own companies, let alone in the broader, converging business environment. To remain relevant — to be able to make a meaningful contribution to strategy and challenge management effectively — boards need to refresh themselves continually and seek out directors who can bring in much-needed knowledge and experience from the front line.

One of the board’s most important tasks is to identify potential new directors and assess their suitability for the role. This task is made all the more difficult by the fact that an increasing number of high-quality candidates have not served on a main board before. Many nominating committees are nervous about appointing executives who lack boardroom experience, and with good reason — board appointments involve a long-term commitment and mistakes can be painful and costly, disrupting the equilibrium of the board and damaging the reputations of those concerned.

That said, a growing number of first-time directors are being appointed to boards. According to research published in the Spencer Stuart Board Index, 33% of S&P 500 appointments and 32 % of FTSE 150 appointments in 2018 were new directors serving on their first corporate boards.

Spencer Stuart highlights the 5 key attributes that strong candidates should possess to help them on a new board.

  1. Interpersonal skills
  2. Intellectual approach
  3. Integrity
  4. Independent mindedness
  5. Inclination to engage


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