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Jul 18, 2017

Board appointments increased in 2016, research shows

Total number of board seats in the Fortune 500 decreased - as did first-time board directors 

The number of Fortune 500 board appointments increased in 2016 along with the percentage of board seats that turned over, according to a Heidrick & Struggles report.

Although board composition continues to be one of the more fiercely debated governance issues facing public companies, with proponents of diversity and experience both becoming more vocal, boards are getting better at refreshment, according to Jeffrey Sanders, Heidrick & Struggles’ vice chairman and co-managing director of the firm’s board and CEO practice.

There were 421 board appointments in the Fortune 500 last year, compared to 399 in 2015, Corporate Secretary sister publication IR Magazine reports. Last year’s total is significantly above 348 - the median number of board appointments since Heidrick & Struggles started collecting this data in 2009.

The total number of board seats overall fell from 4,698 in 2015 to 4,609 in 2016, meaning that 9 percent of seats turned over in 2016. In 2015, 8.5 percent of board seats turned over.

‘We’re seeing boards do far more to make sure that their composition and the skillsets that they bring forward better reflect the strategy of their business and what is going to be required to effectively govern the business,’ Sanders tells IR Magazine.

Ben Ashwell

Ben Ashwell

Ben Ashwell is the editor at IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary, covering investor relations, governance, risk and compliance. Prior to this, he was the founder and editor of Executive Talent, the global quarterly magazine from the Association of...