Raising Standards In Board Evaluation (Someone Has To Do It)

An excerpt from a Board Talk post by Dina Medland at www.dinamedland.com

Helen Pitcher (whom I know well as I have interviewed her extensively over the years for the FT around various roles) has been in boardroom consultancy for a long time. She has just launched a new business, called AB Excellence, of which she is chairman. Today she launches a 'proposed code of practice for independent external board evaluations' which has already had some powerful endorsements from the likes of Sir David Walker, responsible for the Walker Review into bank boards in 2009, and now chairman of Barclays.

I am with Helen Pitcher - her code makes it clear there is to be no 'subcontracting' and it's high time to evaluate those who do the evaluating in the boardroom. It's a crying shame we have never done the same thing for those who place the men and women in the boardroom in the first place.

We could see a real basis for progress by shining an important light into board evaluation - how is it done, who does it, what do they charge, what are their relationships with the people who hire them - ie chairmen of FTSE350 companies? While agreements on confidentiality are important, a cry for 'discretion' can too easily become abusive to a productive boardroom process.