The story of the 'right to sit at the boardroom table' involves the select few who are well progressed into their illustrious career, able to demonstrate the suitable achievements. These are the heroes deemed to have 'earned' their rights according to some invisible category, and lawyer and chairman Cathy Quinn.
Once in, they reinforce the mysterious standards of entry against all potential incumbents including other qualified men and women. Understandably the latter are frustrated by their own attempts to join these self proclaimed industry heroes.
Without wishing to trivialise their justified frustration, is a continued focus on 'rights' of candidates alone really going to change the outcome? Most unlikely.
Instead, why not ask: what talent is best going to serve this business, shareholders and stakeholders today and into the future? An obvious but challenging question.
Increased globalisation and connectivity, emerging new services and industries, active shareholders (frequently overstepping the 'constructive' limit condoned by Quinn), powerful investment funds, and developing corporate social responsibility requirements, all spell a new playing field. The case of Apple being forced by major shareholders to change its nomination criteria, supports this.
Attracting a wider talent pool must mean a willingness to discard the old standards of entry. In addition, companies seeking investment support beyond their patch including #NZ, would be well served to respect this trend.
Suggest the heroes of the round table make room for new blood (and new advisors) !
How are we tracking around improving “diversity” in the Boardroom (age, ethnicity, gender and skill set) I think we are on the right path – yes there is still more work to do. People need to earn their right though to sit around the Board room table. There is no place for tokenism. Shareholders deserve the best people (which will involve a range of skills and attributes) around the Boardroom table. New Zealand’s society has changed markedly over recent decades and will continue to do so. Over time, and with encouragement, that changing face of New Zealand should result in more diversity in Boardroom’s – because that is the smart thing for Board’s to do