Spencer Stuart: Recruiting the First-Time Director in Greater China

Spencer Stuart finds that more boards are taking on first-time directors in the quest for new skills and more diverse leadership. There is a range of rationale behind the new trends, for example, to correct gender imbalance, create a generational shift, add consumer behavior or social media experts, or hire someone with experience in a particular region.

Although the trend to hire first-time directors is high, many boards are reluctant due to the relatively high risk involved. There are several qualities that are important in a board director role. Such as, understanding corporate governance best practice which can be acquired through reading and training, understanding the company’s strategy, comfort dealing with complexity, and bringing reason and logic to new situations in order to make sound decisions.

The quality of board induction programs is variable, and some companies do not even provide them. Gone are the days of first-time board directors taking a back seat and observing until they are comfortable to make an active contribution. Therefore, high-quality onboarding is critically important. It is not enough for the CFO and general counsel simply to run through the core finance and governance issues; the new director should ideally spend some time at company headquarters with senior executives from each of the main functions (investor relations, HR, audit, IT, etc.) as well as with fellow directors.  

The full report is published on Spencer Stuart’s website. Read the full report.


Thought leadership category