August 13, 2021

Board Governance: Nominating & Governance Committee Priorities

A recent Spencer Stuart Survey of nominating/governance committee chairs sheds some light on their priorities during the current year. In early 2021, the firm surveyed 77 committee chairs to find out what this year’s “top of mind” issues are, how their recruitment efforts have changed, and where the composition of their boards is headed. Here are some of the highlights:

– The top five governance priorities reported by survey respondents were enhancing ESG oversight (69%), enhancing racial and ethnic diversity (44%), developing a board succession strategy (39%), enhancing board effectiveness (38%) and overseeing company wide DEI efforts (36%).

– The top five recruiting priorities reported by survey respondents were adding directors from an underrepresented group (58%), directors with global perspectives & experiences (43%), directors with technology expertise (40%), directors with financial expertise (39%) and directors with operational expertise (38%).

– Interestingly, gender diversity, which was last year’s fourth most highly rated governance priority, did not crack this year’s top five. In terms of recruiting profiles, the survey says it fell from 3rd place to 10th.

– The number of respondents reporting that their board had underperforming directors dropped from 35% in 2020 to 18% this year.

Many commenters have expressed concern about the ability of companies to identify qualified directors from underrepresented groups, but 83% of the committee chairs surveyed reported no issues with recruiting directors with diverse backgrounds.

John Jenkins