The Challenge

Our client was a global FTSE 20 energy business. It was growing strongly, and consistently outperforming its peer group. Whilst previousinternal reviews had suggested that the Board was operating well, the Chairman was keen to bring an independent and objective assessment of how it could improve its effectiveness further.

Our Approach

We started by holding a series of background discussions with the Chairman, Senior Independent Director and CEO, both to deepen our understanding of the business and its key challenges and also to tailor our evaluation so that it focused in particular on the most important issues and concerns.

We then had detailed one-to-one discussions with each of the Directors, in which we explored their perspectives on issues including: the Board’s size and collective capabilities against those required; the time allocated; how well the Board understood the business and the effectiveness of both induction processes and the regular supply of information; how Board and Committee meetings operated; and the dynamics between the Chairman and CEO, and the Non-Executives and Executive team.

We also discussed how well the Board delivered against its five major tasks: shaping strategy, monitoring performance, succession planning, managing key stakeholders and providing stewardship.

Based on these inputs, we developed a detailed report laying out our findings and recommendations. This report synthesised the key observations and perceptions Board members had, provided our insights on how well the Board was delivering against its key priorities, highlighted key areas for improvement and proposed possible actions.

We first discussed this with the Chairman and Senior Independent Director together, and then sent the report to the Board, before facilitating a Board discussion of the findings that led to the agreement of a concrete action plan.

Key areas where changes were agreed included: deepening the Board’s involvement in succession planning and talent mapping; agreeing specific profiles for future Non-Executive Director appointments; and to increase the informal interactions between Non-Executives and Executives.

The Outcome

The Board have now implemented these changes and are now proving even more effective in their leadership of the business, which continues to go from strength to strength.