Today we start a new multi-part series showcasing the careers of some independent Non-Executive Directors (NEDs). Our intention with this series is to share examples of journeys in practice across different markets and different industries within financial services to inspire you to reflect on your own careers and aspirations. We trust that these features will also complement our previous articles on:
The Institute of Directors operates in a number of countries, and provides helpful resources to those performing or aspiring to such roles. Examples are the United Kingdom and Southern Africa, and similar bodies in the United States and Australia are linked to later in the article. Also, if you are an actuary, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has a NED Member Interest Group (MIG) that I’d encourage you to join. Their LinkedIn presence is accessible here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7430820/ Please do let me know if similar groups exist in your professions, and I’ll mention them too.
As described in previous articles, the main role of NEDs is to guide their organisations in a statutory capacity. Seamus Creedon, NED MIG chair, writes in "The Actuary" magazine that “corporate governance is the toughest of team sports” and explains that “good NEDs will use their skills and experience to aid the collective understanding of the whole board. A good board will be diverse [ito its members’] backgrounds, experiences and genders.”
For brevity, our shorthand NED includes iNEDs (independent NEDs) – some countries emphasise when a director is independent but others don’t. Eagle-eyed readers may spot this series’ vignettes in magazines of some of our members’ professional organisations over the coming months – I’ve tried to align my dates of sharing them here with the magazine publications as far as possible, although their versions differ, including in length. Do let us know if you see them in your magazine.
Read on for the stories, reflections and suggestions of three NEDs internationally: Lusani Mulaudzi, Hazel McNeilage and Tony Lally.
One of my professional bodies arranges sessions for its members involved in and/or interested in Non-Executive Director roles, and I particularly enjoy attending those sessions. As an experienced professional myself, I find the interaction and discussions at these events both enlightening and inspiring – debating practical situations with fellow professionals and learning from their decades of wisdom about possible approaches to challenges, what works and what doesn’t, and applying professional judgement.
It’s partly the value I’ve gained from participating in those events, and other discussions with the leaders involved, that inspired me to write a number of articles for Non-Executive Directors (NEDs), and share them all with you on our website. We hope you find them useful at different stages along your own exploration of (and fulfilment of) these roles.
This article is based on a position paper on mentorship for governing body members by the Corporate Governance Network (CGN), a forum set up by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in South Africa and PwC, the multinational professional services firm. The CGN describes itself as a “forum for professionals in the corporate governance field to amass their combined knowledge and experience to provide directors and senior executives with the tools to understand and implement sound governance”.
It builds on our previous NED-focused article which shared the IoD’s advice for future NEDs and concluded with discussion on evaluation of your performance as a NED, plus how the IoD highly recommends mentorship as it provides “valuable support, advice and insight into complex problems”. However, the IoD also noted that “careful thought needs to be given to the nature of the relationship and individual responsibilities within the [specific] context”.
Read more for discussion around the why and who of NED mentoring, differences in skills required of executives and non-executives, areas where mentoring and skills development can help NEDs, and skills required from mentors.
In preparation for a series of interviews with Non-Executive Directors (including independent ones i.e. iNEDs) for my profession’s magazine, I’ve been doing research around the topic, and came across a helpful report by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in South Africa. The report is based on an online survey by the IoD on the recruitment, selection and appointment process for NEDs. It also references a spread of international reports for those interested in wider reading, and concludes with an overview of advice for potential NEDs and advice for nomination committees themselves.
In this article, I focus on its advice for individuals rather than the companies. Some of the advice is specific to NED roles (such as treating the interview as a discussion among potential peers), while some is relevant to general job applications as well (such as tailoring your application to the role and its requirements). In future months, we’ll share with our readers aspects of my interviews with individual NEDs, their career journeys and their tips for others considering becoming NEDs too, alongside publication of their profiles in the professional magazines.
Read more to explore the reasons companies search for new NEDs and where they look, the attributes required of NED candidates, and the IoD’s advice on preparing your application, preparing for the interviews, considering an offer, and adding value once on board.