Virtuous Cycle

Here are steps you can take to build a diverse and effective mining board.

Energy and Mining International | July 31, 2017

The Energy and Mining International article, “Virtuous Cycle,” co-written by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Jon Martin and Joe Saliba explains what differentiates effective boards and how to increase board diversity in the mining industry. The article is excerpted below.

In our previous Energy & Mining International column (Spring 2017), we referred to our study examining the evolution of the mining board between 2011 and 2016. This time, we discuss what differentiates effective boards and how to increase board diversity in the mining industry.


An effective board is comprised of balanced views and multiple perspectives and experiences. Ultimately, board success depends on diverse membership – representing different geographies, genders and generations – and a range of competencies – such as financial, technical and operational expertise. Building these skilled, diverse boards creates a "virtuous cycle" in that diversity in these areas contributes to greater company success, and success makes the board increasingly attractive to high-caliber, diverse talent.

When appointing new board directors, companies typically look for proven leadership capabilities, ability to engage in constructive debates, and experience and skills that fit the strategy. Thought our study confirmed that the mining industry is progressing towards a greater share of women on its boards, gender parity continues to be a challenge. This is due to the relatively small number of female mining company CEOs or other c-suite executives.

In our experience, it is more valuable to look across parallel industries such as the oil and gas or service industries such as mining equipment to widen the universe of prospective board candidates. Furthermore, in light of the significant shift of mining companies adopting manufacturing principles in operations, there is an opportunity to consider executives with relevant operational experience developed from within the automotive and broader manufacturing sectors.

To read the full article, click here.

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Virtuous Cycle