Company Boards are Bound to Fail Until the Chumocracy is Broken Up


The Times of London | April 26, 2019

The Times article, “Company boards are bound to fail until the chumocracy is broken,” featured Russell Reynolds Associates’ “Going for Gold — The 2019 Global Board Culture and Director Behaviors Survey.” The article, which is excerpted below, highlights how organizational failure is a result of poor board behavior.

Several years ago I was approached by an executive search company about a paid non-executive role on the board of a local public sector mental health body. It didn't pique my interest: I had existing commitments on a charity board; I have written about my family's experience of severe mental illness but it claimed enough of my life without making it my work too; the board in question had been named in the press for being composed entirely of white middle-ages men while serving a highly diverse inner-city community and I had no interest in being a token appointment

They asked me to join the board as an unpaid informal adviser anyway, but I ran for the hills, realising that I'd had a new miss: being a trustee or non-executive director can involve intense moral, legal and financial obligations and taking on responsibility for services in the underfunded and dysfunctional mental health sector could have been a nightmare. It all came back this week, though, when I was sent a press release from the search firm Russell Reynolds Associates highlighting research claiming that "changing board director behaviour and culture has a direct impact on company success". I realised that my cartoonish experience was an illustration of why efforts to diversify boards are futile.

To read the full article, click here.