Deeper Focus on Strategy and Operations Needed On European Boards, Boyden Study Series Finds

Top global executive search firm’s new installment in “Changing of the Board” series reveals the need for evolving skill sets and unintended consequences of extra regulation

LONDON AND FRANKFURT, September 21, 2011 – European boards need to adopt more strategic, operational and independent roles to ensure deeper engagement and oversight, according to a new installment of Boyden’s Board of Directors Series: Changing of the Board, released today by Boyden global executive search.  

The new edition of the “Changing of the Board” series, entitled “A Director’s Eye from Europe,” includes contributions from top senior non-executive directors and advisors from France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It explores the increasingly specialised roles of non-executives and provides insight into the complex processes of director selection and evaluation.

“The prominent focus on governance issues by regulatory bodies, shareholders and media in a world of 24-hour new cycles fundamentally changes what is required of non-executive directors today,” said Trina Gordon, President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation. “The common themes of our Boyden study find that the right board composition, reshaping internal working models and assessing board effectiveness apply to both European organisations and companies across the globe.”

“Changes are imminent as boards, regulators and shareholders consider the evolving roles of non-executives and supervisory members,” said John Ellis, Managing Partner of Boyden UK. “Corporate governance reporting requirements are increasing time requirements and administrative burdens on boards. In addition, regulators and shareholders are encouraging greater diversity and directing board members to take a stronger responsibility in managing companies’ risk profiles and stewarding company strategy.”

In addition to the changing role of non-executives, the report explores the following topics:

  • Unintended consequences of increased regulation on a company’s strategic decision-making
  • Importance of technical diversity, gender representation and international experience to operational and strategic discussions for global companies
  • Getting composition right as board functions become increasingly complex
  • The need for formal evaluation processes for non-executives
  • Intra-board dynamics and relationships with management - the right work style and “fit”
  • The value of placing successful entrepreneurs on boards and recruitment challenges
  • The mismatch between board members’ requirements and their compensation

The Boyden study also considers the road ahead for European boards as the role of governance continues to be shaped in a post-crisis world.

“Sometimes I see corporate governance in conflict with corporate trust, with corporate governance in many cases attempting to replace this trust with control,” said Armin Meier, Managing Director of Boyden Switzerland.” The challenge is putting in place sufficient legislative controls, while not legislating for every eventuality.

To review the full version of Boyden’s “Changing of the Board”, Part Four, “A Director’s Eye from Europe,” please click here.

About the Series

The Boyden “Changing of the Board” series includes an introduction to the topic, Part One, “Boards in Crisis,” Part Two, “Better Directors for Better Boards,” Part Three, “Why Ethics are Not Optional” and  Part Four, “A Director’s Eye from Europe,” on www.boyden.com. The series includes important guidance from several directors, experts and advisors.

About Boyden World Corporation

Boyden is a global leader in the executive search industry with more than 70 offices in over 40 countries. Founded in 1946, Boyden specializes in high level executive search, Interim Management and Human Capital consulting across a broad spectrum of industries. For further information, visit the firm’s website at www.boyden.com.