Board Case Study: getting creative in the boardroom

Our client – an AIM listed ingredients manufacturer – approached us in July with an unusual problem. They needed a new NED for their Board and wanted to take the opportunity to appoint someone with the relevant business growth experience to support their long-term goals as a business. However, they were also aware that their Governance was weak and were looking to improve. Following several discussions with them around how we might source candidates to a long list of criteria, we suggested a different solution. In addition to seeking an appropriate Non-Executive Director, we were mandated to seek an experienced professional Company Secretary willing to take on a part-time Executive role for the duration of a project, specifically mandated to work alongside the Chair and the Board to improve their governance.

Despite being an unusual role that did not adhere to the usual distinctions drawn between Exec/Non-Executive roles, we were able to identify a long list of ten individuals with the requisite skill set who were interested in the challenges of the role, and available. We presented these to the client who was thrilled we had been able to offer so many potential candidates and asked to meet with four of them. Following a short round of interviews, with the Chair and the Board, they identified their preferred candidate and asked us to assist with negotiating an offer for them, as they had no internal framework for renumeration in this instance.

Following several rounds of negotiation, we were able to conclude an offer which satisfied both parties, balancing the need for regular updates and progress on the ‘project’ with the candidate’s other portfolio duties. The offer was duly accepted, and the candidate commenced work by the end of September.

This assignment acts as a reminder that Boards often have challenges where the solution does not fit into a neat box. Our Board Practice has access to a wide range of professionals with a diverse portfolio of skills which can be leveraged on behalf of our clients. Rather than seeking to compromise, Boards can ask us to seek less conventional solutions which suit their specific circumstances.

If you’d like to hear more about our Board Advisory Practice, or perhaps to discuss an assignment in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact John Begley, Managing Director via john.begley@normanbroadbent.com