How To Become A Paid Non-Executive Director

On Tuesday 25th October, NEDonBoard hosted a guest speaker panel discussion on how to become a paid non-executive director.

With insights from Jill Ader of executive search firm Egon Zehnder; Gillian Wilmot, Founder & CEO of Board Mentoring and an award winning NED; remuneration expert Nicki Demby of Deloitte; and experience Chairman Michael Chuter, there were some worthwhile key take home messages, some of which are shared below:

  • When looking to take on a NED position, don’t simply look for roles which offer the largest salary. Also consider positions which align with your expertise and passions, as this will bring value to both you and the boards you serve, as well as improve your prospects in being brought on board.
  • When applying for and preparing for a NED position, always ensure you really understand the business; read their annual reports, their background and go into the details of the organisation. It may sound obvious but the guest speakers had collectively seen examples of prospective NEDs not adequately caring to really look into the background of the business before applying for a role.  Needless to say, these candidates did not progress far.  This key here is that preparation converts opportunity.
  • The dynamic of the board itself, the Chairman and board members, is likewise important; find a role where your expertise and experience compliment your fellow board members.
  • Further to the above, sometimes the subtleties of an organisation can be very telling. Taking note of these aspects will also have an impact in deciding whether a role is the right one for you.  For example, does the setup of the organisation when you walk in demonstrate a friendly atmosphere; a controlled atmosphere; and so on.

Being a NED requires significantly more than 4 appearances per year at board meetings, so remember the above and ensure to pursue a path of interest!

If you would like to know more, and in particular how to progress to being a paid non-executive director, members will find a recording of the discussion in your NEDonBoard member area and if you are serious about your NED career and would like to become a Non-execs. Follow our courses and ensure you get best prepared. Next step:


One thought on “How To Become A Paid Non-Executive Director

  1. Philippa Hale on Reply

    A good summary of what it takes to be a useful NED. I started my first NED role in March 2016 and was recruited specifically to complement the other Board members who are legal, accounting and education specialists. I also became the first Woman NED. We were immediately thrown into a major organisational transformation which has been an exciting, if challenging 2-way learning process, more than the days agreed for sure but energising and great to use my global experience, leadership team mentoring, digital transformation and OD skills.

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