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Half of GCs not qualified to be directors

More than half of Australian general counsel, including those on boards, do not have “sufficient” knowledge, experience, or diversity to work in a director role, a survey found.

user iconNaomi Neilson 21 November 2023 Corporate Counsel
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In its benchmarking survey, Gartner discovered that while board effectiveness can be achieved by increasing the skills and qualities of a director, 62 per cent of general counsel reported not having the necessary qualities or social dynamics.

“General counsel spend a significant amount of time and energy on director onboarding, education and evaluation while giving comparatively less attention to sourcing and recruiting,” research director for legal and compliance James Crocker said.


“These efforts seek to strengthen overall director quality, but research indicates there is room for improvement for many organisations.”

Mr Crocker added that while effective boards hold executives to account and make positive contributions to positive governance, many boards of directors are “not fully effective based on these criteria”.

Gartner said to improve the quality of directors, general counsel should work with senior executives to identify appropriate skills, educate the board on the need for diverse perspectives, and expand the talent pool so the right candidate does not slip through the gaps.

A spokesperson for Gartner said a “well-crafted portfolio” can maximise the quality of the board, which in turn will improve the board’s “ability to guide the organisation through disruptions and evolving economic circumstances”.

“General counsel looking to improve their board’s sourcing and recruiting efforts should work with the nominating committee chair to improve the quality of director nominations,” Mr Crocker added.

“Additionally, they should create and maintain a portfolio of potential director candidates.”

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