Who will be the Chair of the future?

What skills, capabilities and experiences will be required to be a successful Chair in 10-plus years’ time? How will boards operate and what will be their priorities?

Much has been written about the development of the role and responsibilities of the CEO and their executive team. However, there has been far less debate around one of the other most influential roles driving the impact and future success of businesses: the Chair of the board.Through a series of interviews with some of the most experienced Chairs within British business, we have explored how the role will evolve to address the new demands and complexities of the job in our new paper – Chair of the Future.

From those conversations, it’s clear navigating an increasingly greater pace of change and uncertainty is at the heart of the Chair’s role; we see the emergence of five key themes which are influencing the board agenda:

  1. The rise of inclusive capitalism and the need to become a purpose-led organisation
  2. New technologies and new ideas: managing disruption
  3. An upsurge in stakeholder management and balancing conflicting dynamics
  4. The mounting burden of regulation
  5. Capital shifts from West to East and increasingly from public to private.

These themes are challenging traditional thinking around how the board operates, and consequently the role of the Chair. On the face of it, some Chairs may now appear less formal and more accessible. In reality, operationally there has been a fundamental shift towards the professionalism of boards, led by the Chair. Chairs of today find themselves in a significantly more demanding role.

Who will a future Chair need to be?

As our conversations turned towards the future, some of our interviewees reflected that the frame of reference for Chairs has changed. The more traditional descriptions of the role and responsibilities of the Chair considerably underestimate the demands and complexities of the job. With the evolution and professionalisation of boards, there is strong recognition that the role of the Chair has changed over the years.

Download the report to find out more!

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