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May 9 / admin

NED roles


We read a lot about the importance of having a good, diverse, independent group of NEDs with a variety of experience but perhaps we don’t read as much about the difficulty of becoming one!  I often work with candidates who would like to add an NED role to their full-time job or to their portfolio career but it’s a hard one to crack.  All too often, it would seem, it’s the old Catch-22: it’s difficult to become one if you haven’t been one already.  I discussed this recently with a headhunter who handles NED roles and I came away with the following helpful thoughts:

  • It’s probably easier to become an NED if you are or have been a CEO, a CFO or a COO
  • Get in touch with the headhunting firms that specialise in NED roles and also with all the large firms (including those on the right hand side of my blog page) which now have at least one consultant dealing with NED / Board level positions
  • Approach companies where there is real sectoral affinity with what you have been doing and tell them what you will bring to the party
  • As a first step – to crack the Catch-22 – try and land an NED / Trustee role in the public or Not-for-Profit sector as these can provide very useful experience and prove that you can do it
  • Think about joining the Financial Times NED Club  – – as this runs useful seminars and it should provide useful networking opportunities

Also it’s important to remember that the role is going to be different to anything you have done before as it won’t be a hands-on, directive role but an advisory and supportive but also scrutinising role.  It requires sensitivity as you will be advising the people in the driving seat, not doing it yourself!