I’ve had a bit to do with the pool of professional directors in New Zealand and I have to say I came away a little unimpressed. I’m sure the pool is useful for legacy industries (the sort of low value add commodity stuff that we’re all meant to be moving away from), but I can’t help but think that they’re in a little over their heads when it comes to hi-growth, hi-tech companies.
I’ve heard all the arguments that say that the most important thing is having experience with growth (no matter what the domain) ad the connections of well regarded directors are valuable but I’m not so sure;
- Most companies with independent boards in New Zealand are slow growth, legacy businesses – I’m not sure how that translates into fast moving experience
- especially for hi-tech businesses, connections are less important than product and scale – sure experience can help with execution but most non-executive directors that I know are reluctant to be so involved as to have a real hand in operational execution
I’m 100% in favour of independent boards for small and larger businesses, but believe that the current pool of candidates doesn’t inspire confidence in those considering appointing a board.