Spencer Stuart: How Next-Generation Board Directors Are Having an Impact

A new white paper from Spencer Stuart, "How Next Generation Boards Are Having an Impact," discusses how a growing number of "next-gen directors" are being appointed to boards around the world.

  • In the US, 45% of all new directors appoints to S&P 500 companies in 2017 were serving on their first public company board; 55% of them were women or minorities.
  • In Europe, more than one-third of board appointments at leading listed companies in 2017 went to first-time directors; Poland, 82%; Russia, 59%; Denmark, 43%; Finland, 41%; Belgium, 39%; Norway, 37%; France, 38%; UK, 34%.
  • Most next-gen directors anticipate that their relevance (and interest) will fade after around 5 years and are quite happy at the prospect of cycling off the board when the time is right.

As companies address new challenges, and a younger generation of executives with very different backgrounds become independent directors, boards will need to find the right balance between experience and relevance; they will also need to become more dynamic in terms of composition, diversity, discussion and tenure.

Boards committed to staying on top of the critical issues affecting their companies should consider the potential benefits of appointing at least one next-gen director, not just for their subject expertise but for their ability to bring alternative thinking and multi-stakeholder perspectives into the boardroom.

Backed by a supportive board chair and open-minded directors, next-gen directors can have a lasting, positive impact on the board’s effectiveness during a time of unprecedented change.

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