I recently spoke to the Women in Wealth Supper Club on the issue of Women on Boards and since then have spoken to many of my clients about the feasibility of a Boardroom role in their future. For a change, I thought I’d capitalise on the wisdom of Sarah Dudney of Lockwood Gibb, a search firm specialising in financial services, to give us the low down on NED roles.
Sarah said: “Since Lord Davies issued his report in February this year on women in board rooms the debate on board room members has heightened in intensity. And thank heavens for the light this has shined on the issues of women on boards.
I still have flashbacks to 2005 sitting in an investment trust board meeting waiting for my briefing papers to search for a Non Executive board member when the Chairman dismissively questioned: ‘what’s all the fuss about corporate what-not?’ as the subject of diversity and governance was introduced. I think my jaw hit the mahogany board table.
So, thankful for progress, we must remember that Lord Davies, in his headmasterly report on women in board rooms was indicating ‘Try and do better and if you don’t then we will then look at stricter methods of enforcement.’ Personally I do not think the full momentum of what we have to do to build better representation on boards has actually registered in the market yet.
NED tenure is between three to four years so each NED will see out their appointed period and if they cannot renew will gracefully resign. Then the search begins and opportunities will open up gradually. If you are an accountant, actuary or lawyer then you are always going to be in demand (all things being equal). Same if you have a risk management background. This doesn’t mean that other disciplines are not highly desirable, but those are often the priorities.
By their very nature NEDs are visible in the company’s annual report available online. Is there one person you can look up and follow by way of example? What route did they take? While many enjoy and thrive in the debate and discussion, their role often comes with a tall reading list which can take up a day of a weekend. At least.” You can reach Sarah direct at Sdudney@lockwoodgibb.com