The thinking behind board composition is becoming increasingly scientific and strategic for some Chairs. Vicky Griffiths, Head of Leathwaite’s Board Practice, shares some insights into this now complex area.

There is no doubt that Chairs and boards are getting better at succession planning and thinking much more strategically about board composition. Gone are the days when a new non-executive director (“NED”) would be appointed on the basis that they will simply ‘fit’ with the existing board and culture.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ in terms of what a board should look like but the process of hiring new NEDs is becoming far more rigorous, consistent and transparent, and it is increasingly based on detailed analysis of board composition rather than some intangible sense of ‘fit’.

“It’s surprisingly scientific” explains Experian Chairman Don Robert, “We map existing board members on a multi-dimensional matrix. This helps identify any gaps, which then drives future board hiring. It’s a continuous process and Chairs are thinking years ahead.”

So, what does this matrix look like? What criteria should a Chair be assessing and mapping when considering board composition?

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