8 Practical Steps to Your First Corporate Board Seat
The majority of clients are looking to add new skills and diversity around the Board table.
I’ve been getting more calls from executives interested in becoming corporate board directors as a way to bridge retirement, remain productive and “in the game” while earning supplemental income. While it is an honor and can be fulfilling to be on a corporate board, giving governance oversight and strategic direction, getting your first board seat can be a stiff challenge.
Competition is fierce for the relatively small number of roles and board opportunities remain relatively rare. There are about 5,500 board seats among the F500 and in any given year, only 250 to 400 of these seats will turn over. Further, while gender diversity is progressing ever so slowly –female board representation stands at 25% for large-cap companies, 15% for mid-cap, 12% for small-cap and well below 10% for micro and nano-cap companies –this represents both a challenge but also a significant opportunity for aspiring women directors.
With so few board seats opening every year, and with a strong preference toward for-profit CEOs, CFOs and other financial experts to fill the open roles, it is a real challenge to get through the boardroom door. Yet, even with these restrictions, opportunities remain for those individuals with a unique value proposition to join the ranks of corporate directors. Frequently, companies will engage executive search firms to find candidates with the specific credentials needed beyond being a financial or compensation expert. Some examples include digital transformation, D2C marketing, blockchain, cyber and information security, risk management and more.
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