Magazine article Management Today

Brainfood: Crash Course In. Joining the Board

Magazine article Management Today

Brainfood: Crash Course In. Joining the Board

Article excerpt

You've been offered promotion to executive director. But what does a seat on the board entail and how can you best prepare for your new role?

Don't sign anything until your lawyer has seen it. A contract for service is of great value as it outlines the limits of your role, but you need your lawyer to check what you're signing up to in terms of severance, non-competitive clauses, etc. Consider taking independent advice on a sensible pay benchmark for your new role.

Think holistic. It's no longer enough to know about just one section of the firm. 'To sign off the accounts as being true and fair, you'll need to understand the whole company as well as your bit,' points out Simon Goldring, a partner at law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. You'll also be expected to contribute to decision-making across the whole business, so make a whirlwind tour of the parts you haven't previously reached.

Do your homework. Board directors have legal and regulatory responsibilities that range from signing off accounts to making decisions in the company's best interests. Bone up on governance and compliance.

Say hello. If you don't know them, introduce yourself to the non-execs.

'As you're going to be working with them, it's important to understand their views on business and their background, and they will want to understand you as an executive,' says Susan Bloch at headhunter Whitehead Mann. Don't thrust yourself in front of investors and media, though, unless you're mandated by the board to do so. …

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