A little more than one-third (36%) of executives are “satisfied” their boards have the right mix of skills, according to a survey of 2,300 directors across 46 countries.
The research found 49% of respondents could only say they were “somewhat satisfied” that their boards possessed the right combination of skills.
Despite these concerns, 33% of directors said their boards had conducted “little or no” discussion of succession plans.
Conducted by KPMG, the professional services firm, the survey also found that three out of five board directors believe aligning boardroom talent with long-term strategy is a critical challenge facing their boards.
The research uncovered a number of key drivers of why boardroom composition is such a critical issue, including the need for directors with an understanding of competitive environments; a greater diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds; understanding the pace of change in technology; and potential disruptors of business models.
Respondents revealed diverse barriers to building a “high-performing board”. The biggest block, named by 82% of respondents, was finding directors who combine general experience with specific expertise. Identifying future boardroom talent needs, and resistance to change due to “status quo thinking”, were also named as problems.
Timothy Copnell, head of KPMG’s UK Audit Committee Institute, said: “Having the right talent in the boardroom is critical to a company’s long-term success.
“But achieving the right diversity of boardroom skills, backgrounds and experience to position the company for the future requires an active approach — from robust evaluations to formal succession planning.”