To join a board, at a minimum we recommend send your resume to all the major recruiting firms, as most top recruiting firms offer a board placement service. Other useful resources include:
- NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors)’s Accelerate program provides participants with “the tools, resources, and exposure that are essential to launching a successful career as a director”.
- FasterLandings offers a “Landing Board Seats” program to help candidates get on Boards.
- The Private Directors Association frequently hosts webinars on board-related topics (for example, “Board Responsibilities During a Pandemic” or “How to Market Yourself for a Board Seat.”)
- Several groups focus on women and diverse board members, e.g., for women, Women Corporate Directors and Extraordinary Women on Boards. The Executive Leadership Council‘s “Corporate Board Initiative” focuses on African-American board members.
When hiring their directors, boards tend to look for:
- Proven leadership experience;
- Specific skills or experience – for example, a financial background, international experience, position as active or retired CEO, experience in dealing with challenges faced by a company or CEO; and/or
- Network – for example, connection to potential clients.
Currently, many boards are also aggressively seeking to become more diverse, as 61.4% of all board positions are still held by white men, with an average age of 63. The 2020 Spencer Stuart Board Index finds that currently, in S&P 500 boards, women account for 28% of directors while minorities account for 20%. New independent Directors are 47% women and 22% minorities.
The average board size is 10.7 members. The average member serves 7.9 years, with one-year terms being the norm (90%) and retirement being mandatory for nearly 70% of members.
The average number of yearly meetings will vary: the full board tends to meet 7.9 times, the Audit committee 8.2 times, and the Compensation committee 5.9 times per year.
In terms of background and function, 17% of new Directors are Active CEOs or presidents, as opposed to 26% in 2010, whereas retired CEOs or presidents comprise 19% of new Directors, compared to 17% in 2010. New Directors come increasingly more from financial backgrounds (27% in 2020 vs 21% in 2010) and functional roles (22% in 2020 vs 18% in 2010).
Naturally, director compensation will vary by industry and company stage, as outlined in the table below for public companies. For more data, see Spencer Stuart’s board index.