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Chairman’s Breakfast – Advisory Boards; their relevance in a changing world

29 Jan 2019 / Events

By Grace Merrall

Hardman & Co Chairman, John Holmes, today hosted a breakfast meeting along with Peter Felix and Paul Turner of Tuner Felix Associates.

The focus of the meeting was a presentation on their recently completed review of advisory boards which involved interviews with over 40 senior board members, both executive and non-executive.

Thank you to all of our attendees.

The Executive Summary taken from the report can be found below:

“Advisory Boards have been established by many organisations in response to the need for help with strategic, technical or developmental issues that may be outside the competence or experience of the board and management. They are common in the UK and USA.

They permit time and focus to be spent by top level thinkers on specific and specialist topics outside the expertise and band-width of the main board, thereby complementing main board skills and providing oversight of strategic issues of importance to the organisation.

Their role is neither proscribed nor regulated and their value varies widely dependent upon the needs of the entity in question. However, their prevalence indicates a felt need and their ability to contribute to performance.

The terms of reference, structure and function of Advisory Boards are crucial to their success.  There must be clarity as to their purpose and role, how they will function and how their advice will relate to the main board and management.

The main board and management must ‘own’ the advisory board.

International Advisory Boards are able to assess foreign market potential and open doors to Government and business partners.

Advisory Boards are expanding their role to help fulfill obligations to a wider range of stakeholders such as employees, the environment and civil society.

There is a large pool of ‘post corporate’ executive talent interested and motivated to serve on Advisory Boards, without the burden of main board duties.

The benefits of a good Advisory Board far outweigh their cost.

Advisory Boards can play a critical role in not-for-profit organisations and charities where credibility and financial support are so important.

A poorly conceived or managed Advisory Board can become a millstone around the neck of the Chairman or CEO who originated it and may not outlive them.

There is a case to be made for including the creation of Advisory Boards in the UK Corporate Governance Code along with guidelines as to how they may best be established and managed.”