By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
A new report issued by the Deloitte Center for Corporate Governance and the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals indicates the top attribute sought in new directors is industry experience, as board subject matter knowledge comes to the fore. In addition, more corporate board members are engaging directly with shareholders. Other shifts in board practices include an increased length and frequency of board meetings and more actively reviewed CEO succession policies.
The report also shows nearly half (47 percent) of all respondents stated that industry knowledge is the most important trait they look for in new board members – almost double most other desired skills. Amongst public companies, that number rose to 51 percent, with C-level experience as the second most desired attribute (37 percent) for board members, followed by international business exposure (30 percent).
“The report shows that board members are really working on enhancing their interactions with each other and with shareholders, which goes along with wider trends related to facility of communication,” said Maureen Errity, director, Deloitte Center for Corporate Governance, Deloitte LLP. “There’s no longer the sense that boards operate behind closed doors.
Deloitte analyzed responses from nearly 200 corporate secretaries who are members of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals. Respondents represent 158 public companies, categorized as large-, mid- and small-cap and financial and nonfinancial companies and 37 nonpublic entities. Deloitte’s Center for Corporate Governance fosters dialogue and knowledge sharing and develops thought leadership on governance issues to help advance collaboration among corporations, board members, the accounting profession, academia and government. Timely, relevant and balanced governance information is available on the Center for Corporate Governance website at www.corpgov.deloitte.com.