European voices are to become an increasingly important part of UK boards post-Brexit and, therefore, an attractive recruitment proposition.
Writing in a report by Odgers Berndtson, Brexit, Business Leaders and Investment, its board practice chair Virginia Bottomley sets out how the UK has already made great progress in diversifying its boards across a number of different measures, including internationalism.
The report states that 40% of the top quoted UK companies are led by individuals who originate from outside the country. However, maintaining strong ties with Europe post-Brexit will see EU executives likely to be increasingly required on UK boards.
“The EU will remain a vital market for the UK, and Britain’s departure will enhance the value of European voices in the boardroom,” said Bottomley.
“Before Brexit, it was common to believe that the EU could largely be covered from London. The future will see businesses challenging that assumption.
“The UK coming out of Europe could have the effect of encouraging British companies to appoint more directors from the EU27.”
A British push into other markets, particularly those in developing areas, has seen an increase in international diversity among its boards.
“The prevailing importance of Europe on UK listed-company Boards is part of this continuing trend towards even greater internationalisation for British corporate governance,” Bottomley added.
There are currently 54 British CEOs in the FTSE 100, with 22 coming from across Europe. Nine US CEOs sit on the FTSE 100, while India, Canada and New Zealand have two representatives each. There is single representation from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Chile and Australia.