Spencer Stuart – U.S Board Index 2018

logo spencer stuartFaced with a variety of forces — including an increasingly complex business environment and an unprecedented pace of change and disruption; a growing number and variety of business risks; and intensifying investor focus on the composition, diversity and quality of the boardroom — S&P 500 boards are gradually reshaping.

 Though the boardroom evolution is modest at an aggregate level, data from the 33rd edition of the U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index (SSBI) finds progress on many fronts, including:

  • Bringing in fresh skills, qualifications and perspectives. Younger, tech savvy, “digital directors” are in high demand. Seventeen percent (17%) of the incoming class are age 50 or younger and more than one-third of these next-gen directors have backgrounds in the tech/telecommunications sector.>
  • Casting a wider and deeper net to identify director talent. Public company boardroom experience is no longer a must-have credential. First-time directors represent 33% of the incoming class, and nearly two-thirds (65%) of the incoming class come from outside the most senior board and company leadership roles.
  • Becoming more diverse. For the second consecutive year, women or minorities composed half of the incoming class of S&P 500 directors. Female representation among new directors rose to 40% (up from 36% last year) while minority males experienced a slowdown, representing 10% of the new independent directors, down from 14% last year.

While new faces are increasingly joining U.S. boardrooms, low boardroom turnover persists. With retirement ages continuing to climb and tenure limitations being rare, the overall composition of S&P 500 boards will continue to shift at a modest pace absent changes in boardroom refreshment practices.

The full report with other insights about board composition, processes and compensation, as well as key findings from our nominating/governance committee member survey.


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