There is a compelling argument to be made for greater international representation on boards. But, if that is the case, why aren’t boards doing more to close the gap between their global aspirations and the international directors who represent such an apparent advantage? The answer is that while these directors can provide great value to boards and their companies, identifying and attracting them is a difficult and daunting process. It can be done,
Based on anecdotal evidence from our client work and broader observations about global companies and their boards, we have long believed that global boards can be a valuable resource to companies pursuing a global strategy. We set out to quantify the current state of the “globalness” of boards of large companies, beyond what we experience day-to-day with our clients, and to determine if and how board composition links to business success.
The results of the study confirmed our belief that there is a gap between companies’ global activity and longer-term plans, on the one hand, and the board resources that help to shape and guide that strategy, on the other. The troubling news is that this gap is large. The good news is that once companies are aware of the extent of the gap between their global strategy and their director resources, they can work toward closing it. In light of the positive correlation we are seeing between companies that perform better on key business metrics and those with international representation on their boards, we suspect many companies will take steps to ameliorate this deficit on their boards.