Mark Kiteley has much non-executive director experience and, as he puts it, is unafraid to challenge the executive to ensure the board’s decisions add real value to the business. So naturally he is a go to man to find out more about being a non-executive director. He is an experienced NED with over 20 years in public funded and privately owned companies, with a speciality in Corporate Governance, Audit and Strategy.
Having been a non-executive director for 20+ years, how has the role of a non-executive director changed in recent times?
The most significant change in the last 20 years is that a NED now carries the same responsibilities as an Exec and can be held equally accountable. Additionally the skill set a NED now has to have, needs to cover Strategy, Risk, Remuneration as well as the “professions” and of course the “little black book of contacts”.
What differences and similarities are there between the non-executive director roles you have had?
My NED role in public funded organisations is now tilted firmly towards “value add” to the funds provided, and destinations or outcomes of the beneficiaries of those funds; whereas the role in commercial companies is firmly tilted towards profit and loss, viability, sustainability and shareholder/investor return.
The two views are analogous but the angle from which they come is opposed. Public sector businesses still have to be viable, but the risks they can take to provide value add are entirely different from a privately funded company where the risks taken must result in profit.
What one piece of information do you think would most benefit those looking to become a non-executive director for the first time?
If you don’t hold a qualification from the professions, i.e. Accountancy or Legal then go on a course and achieve at least a professional board/NED qualification. This will educate you to think and behave as a Director, enable you to challenge the executive regardless of the sector and provide real value to the board you wish to sit on.
New non-executive director may gain a professional qualification with NEDonBoard, the Institute of Board Members when taking the NED Accelerator Programme. We applied years of accumulated knowledge and worked with experienced NEDs and chairs to deliver practical and actionable content to professionals looking to successfully and confidently transition to non-exec roles.