Inaugural Mini-Summit will Guide Direction of Next Gen Board Community

Next Gen Board Leaders Mini-Summit

With a critical focus on board composition, age diversity is one aspect that’s often overlooked.

According to the Spencer Stuart Board Index, the average age of a board member is 63 and has actually risen slightly in the last few years. Since 2014, hundreds of new directors have joined S&P 500 boards, yet this director turnover has not resulted in more age-diverse boards (report via Board Governance Research & the IRRCi). Why is that?

At the first-ever Mini-Summit, ten members of the Next Gen Board Leaders Advisory Council met to discuss that very question—and many others. This group of public company directors in their 30s and 40s represents a rarity in today’s boardrooms. Each was recruited for his or her unique skill sets (ranging from cybersecurity to ecommerce) by progressive boards in search of a generational perspective (ranging from Kimberly-Clark to Ally Financial to Rosetta Stone to Potbelly Corporation).

The Next Gen Board Leaders Advisory Council was invited to ring the June 27 closing bell at Nasdaq alongside Boardroom Resources and Spencer Stuart.

Over two days, the Advisory Council discussed a full docket of corporate governance topics, as the conversations were filtered through a generational lens. Below is just a high-level sampling of the questions that were posed:

Board Composition & Recruiting: Were you recruited for a single skill set or to fill a specific seat in the board’s composition plan? How have you contributed beyond that skill set? What has been your board’s process for aligning composition with corporate strategy?

Director Onboarding: What worked well? What do you wish had been part of the process?

Tenure & Term Limits: How do young directors joining in their 30s and 40s approach their board tenure? Should there be term limits? For what reasons would you leave your board?

Board Technology & Communication: How do you see the future of board communication evolving? What features are missing from today’s board portals?

Cyber Risk: How would you rate your knowledge base compared to more experienced directors? How would you improve your board’s process for cyber risk oversight? Does your board have a crisis plan in the event of a data breach?

Leadership & Committee Structure: What leadership styles have been effective across your board experiences? Many of you serve on or chair the Technology or Innovation committee – what role do these committees play in the board’s oversight of corporate strategy?

The Mini-Summit discussions that took place will form the foundation for ongoing thought-leadership content in the months ahead. Similar questions will be extended to a growing community of next-gen directors (both current and aspiring) to discuss how this generation will begin to move the needle. Following the Mini-Summit, the Advisory Council members agreed to draft a list of goals and action items, which they will use to measure their progress in the months ahead. The best way to stay abreast is to subscribe to emails from the Next Gen Board Leaders community.

On the afternoon of June 27, Nasdaq invited the Advisory Council along with its founding partners (Boardroom Resources and Spencer Stuart) to ring the closing bell. A 60-second highlight video of the bell ceremony is embedded above.

Investors Identify Board Composition as a Top Priority and Concern

investors focus on board composition

Institutional investors have placed board composition among the top governance issues of 2017. See what they had to say about age diversity and how boards are responding.

4-Minute Read