Future Proofing the Boardroom was the topic of a dynamic debate hosted by IE Business School in London. Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño used the opening line of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to aptly set the scene “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

Chaired by IE Professor Lucy Marcus, IE brought together a panel of opinion leaders to discuss the evolving role of the board and how boardroom agendas must adapt to our changing times.

Panellist Manny Amadi, a former WEF Global Leader for Tomorrow, stressed sustainability as a core boardroom responsibility.
Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC Technology Correspondent, felt boards need to fix their attention far more on the rapidly changing business environment brought about by technology and the burgeoning social media.

Trevor Philips OBE, chair of the Equal and Human Right’s Commission, thought that quotas or ethnic/gender balancing acts were not the critical thing – more a need to ensure a wide range of strong voices that reflect our changing society.
Sir Robert Worcester, founder of MORI, emphasized strategy and establishing a corporate culture as key roles of the board. He said it was the chairman’s role to act as a facilitator but it was also the chairman’s duty to ask the ‘last question’- the difficult question others had avoided.

Sue O’Brien, CEO Norman Broadbent believes that an effective board should comprise a broad range of expertise, experts that mirror the company and reflect the company’s wider impact.

The large audience had just too many questions to fill the allocated time. Clearly this was a popular subject and one ripe for further debate.


One thought on “Future Proofing the Boardroom: The Critical Agenda

  1. It was indeed a good event and lively topic. The view of Boards requiring greater functional diversity was, and continues to be a topic of wide debate and should not be hijacked by the gender issue. Our Plc’s need both greater female leadership appointed to Executive Board positions AND greater functional diversity within the NED and Executive Board population. This is not a quick fix, the pipeline of fresh executive boards will need to be built and the confidence of boards to make a “beyond the obvious” NED appointment will take time.

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