Close this search box.

First-time NEDs  |  Professional development  |  Secure a NED role

Most executives who want to become non-executive directors are unlikely to become one. Here is why


Written by Jean-Philippe Perraud, NEDonBoard General Director.

Over the last 4 years, I’ve met with numerous aspiring non-executive directors.

I came to this conclusion: it is possible that you will never become a non-executive director.

Assuming you show an interest in NEDonBoard or you contact me, here are the rough probabilities you can use as a guideline: your chance of becoming a non-executive is about 45%.  In other words, 55% of you will never become a non-executive director; 20% of you are ready and a Board is waiting for you; 25% of you are in the process of making it: with the right training, connections, mentorship and persistence, you will get there.

You not only need the right skill set, the right experience and emotional intelligence but also sufficient willingness. Most of the time, I meet exceptional individuals with a great executive career who have achieved astonishing accomplishments. Nevertheless, I see them struggling to get a role, while they have the capability to be effective and successful in their non-executive director role, they bring their executive mindset to the Boardroom (and as such, damaging their reputation). Being a non-executive director is a very serious job. You should approach this role as part of your career development: it’s not unusual to plan 3 to 5 years in advance.

So, what are the right steps to follow?

1.      Answer this basic question: Are you ready for the role? You might watch the NEDonBoard acclaimed webinar How to secure your first NED role to find out whether you are board ready.

2.      Ensure you are best equipped. NEDonBoard proposes the NED Accelerator Programme to fast-track your journey to the boardroom. The course, entirely online and self-paced, ensures you understand your duties, liabilities and responsibilities as well as principles of corporate governance: it is a good place to start.

3.      Keep up to date with the constant transformation happening at board level. You need to meet your peers on a regular basis and invest in your professional development. This is what our NEDonBoard membership provides through our connection, knowledge and authority events. If the time is right for you, join your professional body to find your next board role, network, develop your skills and knowledge further and share your wisdom.

Written by Jean-Philippe Perraud, NEDonBoard General Director.