NACD Directorship 100: By the Numbers

Published by

With the 2012 political elections over, the nation has been quick to move forward—shifting attention to numerous geopolitical and economic issues, including the fast-approaching fiscal cliff and the European debt crisis. As the dust has settled, however, worth noting is a group that made considerable gains in the U.S. Congress: women. In 2012, the election of female candidates brought representation to record heights. With the addition of five female senators, the overall total now stands at a record high of 20. The U.S. House of Representatives will also comprise 78 female representatives, also a record.

In 2012, the composition of the NACD Directorship 100 mirrors Congress. Of the directors named to the list—men and women who have made outstanding contributions to their boards and their companies’ performance—29 percent are women. This marks a 53 percent increase over 2011, in which 19 percent of the honorees were women.

Particularly this year, the increase is a welcome result. Although NACD has championed diversity in the boardroom for the last 35 years, in 2012 it was the subject of our Blue Ribbon Commission (the report was released in September). Numerous roundtables have also been convened across the nation to discuss increasing diversity, and it is a critical area of focus for the NACD Directorship 2020 initiative.

The current complex and fast-paced business environment necessitates a board with the skill sets and experiences to guide its company in meeting strategic objectives. In analyzing the 2012 list of honorees, several data points stand out:

36: Percentage of honorees with MBAs. Fifteen percent have master’s degrees, 13 percent have PhDs.

Harvard University: Most frequently attended school, for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. For undergraduate degrees, honorees also attended Princeton University, Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Tufts University. The top-five list of graduate schools is rounded out with the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of Chicago, and Columbia University.

232: Number of public companies represented.

43: Age of the youngest NACD Directorship 100 honoree. The average age is 64.

8.2: In years, the average board tenure held by honorees.


  • It would also be interesting to see how the Directorship 100 compares demographically with NACD membership and also with corporate directors in general. Does NACD attract a more or less diverse membership? Do those we designate with honors reflect the general membership or are they aspirational?

  • I commend NACD for setting an example of Leadership in honoring diverse candidates to the Directorship 100 list.

    I attended one of the Diversity events by NACD in NY recently and was pleased to hear leaders embrace how diversity is adding value to the boardrooms.

    I shared my international and financial expert background in advising Chinese Chairman and boardmembers on Corporate Governance was shared with members and led a great discussion on opportunities realized and threats Un-covered.

    Again I congratulate NACD setting an example