Resourcing the Board

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As the job of directors becomes more demanding, the level of resources needed to support the board also needs to change. This panel addressed what companies can do to ensure their boards have the tools they need to meet the evolving challenges of a dynamic business landscape. What kind of support do boards need to fulfill their oversight responsibilities? What is the current state of “resourcing the board?” Is it enough, or does it fall short? And what will boards need to support them going forward? This discussion covered the challenges of resourcing the board at small- and large-cap companies.

1. Finance expertise, industry experience, and leadership skills are the most sought after attributes for public company board members, according to the 2013-2014 NACD Public Company Governance Survey. Corporate governance acumen, technological skills, and IT ranked much lower.

2. The growth of social media has created “crowd knowledge,” where collective data and information stored on such sites as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, is pooled by many people online. The belief is that such knowledge can be better and more reliable than the knowledge of a few elite people. The convenience and depth of such sites make it easier to access knowledge about industries, companies, and their employees. One of the shortcomings of these social media tools, however, is that the information is unfiltered. Directors and management should bear this in mind when using those sites.

3. In today’s complex and dynamic world, directors need to have “depth and width.” This means directors need to have both in-depth knowledge about a certain area and broad knowledge about the company and its industry. One suggested way to support directors with such knowledge is for boards to have their own staff. Such a support team could give the board its own resource for company information, separate from the management team.

Orlando Ashford
President, Talent Business Segment, Mercer

Paula H. J. Cholmondeley
CEO, The Sorrel Group; Director, Terex Corp., Dentsply International, Minerals Technologies

Peter R. Gleason
Managing Director, CFO, National Association of Corporate Directors

This summary provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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