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A Chairman's Thoughts On UK Board Evaluation

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 5:35 AM

I'm delighted to see the huge amount of interest in the last post on a new code proposed on board evaluation.

There will be a consultation going forward organised by ICSA. I am not playing any part in that. But it's always wonderful to get direct feedback, particularly when it comes from a chairman. With Anthony Fry's  permission, I post his thoughts to me here: (emphasis just for clarity)

'Dear Ms Medland


I read your blog with interest in regard to board evaluation, on which I have been a passionate advocate in my various non-executive and chairman roles ; proper board performance audits require independence of thinking and considerable professionalism, not least because, once a chairman has been in post for over a year, any evaluation is in effect a commentary on her or his performance. In my experience, good evaluations do far more than tick the proverbial box in the company secretary's long list of things to be done


As a Chairman, I make one further stipulation which I am disappointed to see is not included in the ABE list - namely, that not only should a firm not carry out more than 2 consecutive evaluations but that there should be a self-denying ordinance in regard to acting on any recommendations arising from the evaluation. Recommend some new appointments ? Then you as the evaluator cannot do the headhunting. Coaching for board members ? Then hire a coaching firm. In that way, truly independent professionals skilled in board evaluation would not have to compete with firms who see this as merely an entry point into the provision of other services



Yours sincerely


Anthony Fry

Chairman, Premier League, Dairy Crest and CALA'

And by the way, I completely agree with him. This is a chance to really make a difference to the ethos of UK boardrooms. Make sure you participate in the consultation.



Categories: Accountability, Scrutiny, Chairmen