Board composition

Q&A panel discussion on board composition

Financier Worldwide moderates a discussion on board composition between Deborah DeHaas at Deloitte LLP, Sarah K. Stewart at Boyden, Steven R. Walker at the National Association of Corporate Directors, and Margaret Pederson at Women Corporate Directors.

Given the board's ultimate decision-making authority, how important is it at a senior level to have the requisite balance of skills and abilities in place to drive corporate strategy?

DeHass' response: A key responsibility of the board is to advise management on the development of the company’s short and long term strategic priorities, approve such strategies, and ultimately oversee the execution of the strategy. To do this effectively, boards should consider whether they have the right processes in place, as well as the right capabilities and diverse perspectives among both senior management and the board. Furthermore, a board with members who are able to challenge management and one another on strategic alternatives, who understand strategic risks, and who offer new ways of thinking about related opportunities and challenges could be beneficial. Aligned with the discussion of specific skills needed to drive a successful strategy is the importance of representation of the company’s constituents, for example, customers, employees and investors. Hence, a board rich in diverse experiences and skills can provide unique and ‘outside-in’ perspectives and strategic thinking across a broad range of initiatives.

This article first appeared in the May 2015 issue of Financier Worldwide magazine. ©2015 Financier Worldwide Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with publisher's

Download the full panel discussion here

​Interested in learning more about new perspectives in the boardroom?

Explore another article authored by Deb DeHaas on operating an effective board.

Ultimately, a well-functioning board is built on trust among its members. Embracing diversity of thought and investing in new processes and tools could understandably be a significant effort for many organizations.

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