Female directors transform thinking
Getting on board: gender diversity on corporate boards
Placing women in board and key committee leadership roles can help transform board thinking, and impact key board decisions and processes.
A review of the biographies included in proxy statements for directorships held by approximately 275 women that joined boards in 2012 or 2011 shows that the majority of them are current or former public company executives. Most of these hold or held executive positions other than CEO.
Who are the women joining boards? More than 60% are current or former public company executives.
Professional background of women directors
Appointing non-CEO women executives to corporate boards helps to further develop those executives, thereby building the leadership pipeline, and meeting the career needs of highly talented individuals, while creating better-performing boards.
Breakdown of positions held by current/former public company executives
Qualifications of new directors: boards seek executive leadership
Companies must now disclose the particular experience, qualifications, attributes or skills that led the board to conclude that the person chosen should serve as a director of the company .
A review of this disclosure for women joining boards in 2012 and 2011 shows that executive leadership is the qualification most commonly cited by companies.
However, limiting director qualifications to executive leadership may prevent a board from recruiting some of the diverse backgrounds and expertise uniquely suited to that board given the company’s particular circumstances.
|New women directorship qualifications||Number of times cited by companies|
|Experience serving on other public company boards||64|
|Global perspective/international experience||56|
|Public policy/government affairs/regulatory||38|
|Public service/civic activities||6|
Less than 6% of independent board leadership roles are held by women
Women still rarely hold independent board leadership roles (independent chair or lead/presiding director).
Board leadership positions held by women
|Women serving as:||Proportion of all positions|
|Independent board chair||1.1%|
These key positions generally involve calling and presiding over board meetings, setting and approving board agendas, controlling the flow of information to the board and acting as a liaison between management and the board, and sometimes between shareholders, and the board.