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January 5, 2017

What qualifications and skills should you look for when hiring a Non-Executive Director?

Making a hire of any kind is important for a business, but bringing in new leaders, executives and NEDs, who will influence the direction of the business, is as big as it gets in recruitment.

So what kind of skills and qualifications should you be looking for when appointing positions such as non-executive directors?


NED Skills, Qualifications and Requirements

There isn’t a specific qualification or certification a candidate must have for a non-exec role.

To be a successful NED, it’s less about theory and educational background, and more about experience and personal qualities. There needs to be evidence that they are the right fit for what an organisation needs. This means there isn’t a “perfect” NED – rather, there are different types of candidates that all have their unique strengths and weaknesses and are likely to perform well in different contexts.

This makes hiring a NED something that boils down to matching the right candidate with the right organisation.

Many candidates will look to obtain a Chartered Directors Qualification from the Institute of Directors but experience and personality are a lot more likely to impact their desirability for an NED position.

NED Personal Skills and Experience

To be a successful NED, a candidate should show some of the following personality traits:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-Solving
  • Creative Thinking
  • Analytics

NED Skills Case Studies

At Edward Drummond, NED search starts by understanding the journey our clients are on (and their associated strategy). This means being able to identify who the type of candidate is that can help them achieve their goals.

Working at Board level, we use our extensive experience to pinpoint the men and women whose insights, track record, skill sets, temperament, contacts and motivation will take a business to the next stage, whatever that stage may be.

Generally, it tends to be around thinking about where they want to be in 3-5 years. Perhaps this relates to growing to a certain size, or gaining more market share, expanding geographical locations, or diversifying products/services. It usually relates to a client simply saying “we want our business to look like this” and making sure an NED hire will help make this happen. This often means finding those organisations that are already there and find those people with the experience of getting them there (from a position of sitting on the board, as an executive).

By following that process we have been able to bring in current or recent CEOs, CFOs and other executives with board level experience of leadership.

To date, some of our NED hires have helped in the following ways:

  • Growth – helping achieve complex international business development and competitive organic growth targets
  • Coaching – acting as an internal mentor to Board and CEO in particular
  • Chair of Audit – strong CFO type background
  • M&A – strong CFO type background
  • Consolidation of complex multi-site global manufacturing operations
  • Chair of Remuneration Committee
  • Business consolidation and restructuring
  • Refinancing
  • IPO (private into public ownership)

Contact us today and see how we transformed a business by hiring an NED.

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