Preparing a Board for Rapid Growth


Back to Board Effectiveness

The board of a quickly expanding US-based investment firm was facing several significant changes, including CEO turnover, substantial international and strategic expansion, and growing concern around board refreshment.

While the team was mature and effective, the level of disruption called for action. So, the chair asked us to help them better understand and improve the board’s culture, structure, and relationship with management.

We ran a thorough third-party board evaluation. By combining electronic surveys and personal interviews with all directors and a wide range of management team members, we uncovered unprecedented insights into the board.

Behavior and culture

We explored the working dynamics among directors and between the board and management. The survey and interviews showed strong relationships and an open, respectful culture, so we made recommendations to continue to nurture the existing board behaviors.

People and composition

When we discussed the board’s diversity of skills, experiences, and demographics, we found several directors with long tenures (some over 20 years). While such directors are highly regarded and bring valuable experience, we helped them evaluate how to balance those benefits against expected criticism from their largest investors. As a result, we helped the company create a formal board refreshment program.

Structure and processes

The way the board operated had some opportunities for improvement that would help them deal with disruptive change. These included delivering board materials further in advance, resetting the level of strategic decision-making as the company expanded, and improving committee leadership and communication.

We also provided detailed recommendations for more structured CEO succession planning, such as focusing on the development plans for internal candidates and conducting an external market scan for additional candidates.