Simon Johnston: Back to the drawing board
'Board Composition - balancing experience with new talent' - was the title of a dinner discussion I recently attended. It was hosted by a leading head-hunter, chaired by the chairman of a FTSE 100 company and attended by a mix of FTSE non-executive directors, HR directors and others, who I suspect were grouped by our host under the title of 'potential new talent'. While the debate about the balance on boards between executives and non-executives, establishment (i.e. serial non-executives) and non-establishment members, has been going on for some time, it is only recently that the discussion in legal circles has returned to the role of lawyers on boards. This has been prompted, in part, by the retirement of some high-profile City lawyers and also by the likes of Bill Knight, the current president of the City of London Law Society, who has, quite rightly, observed that lawyers, particularly after their retirement from day-to-day practice, have a lot to offer boards of government bodies, charities, schools and the like.
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