Directors’ body pleased with diversity programme

Staff Reporter – Directors' body pleased- Simon Arcus Web

A premier institution representing corporate chiefs has welcomed a government’s decision to extend the ‘Future Directors Programme’ to state sector boards.

The Institute of Directors Chief Executive Simon Arcus said that the move will strengthen New Zealand’s Director Pool.

Minister for Women Louise Upston announced on June 29, 2016 that public sector boards and committees would benefit from the Programme, as well as develop a larger and more diverse pipeline.

Supporting new talent

“The government’s decision is good news for delivering board diversity, new talent and fresh perspectives. This is a significant and innovative step for the public sector and continues the achievements in diversity to date by giving people with potential a great opportunity,” Mr Arcus said.

Founded in 2012 by Sir Stephen Tindall, Michael Stiassny and Des Hunt, the ‘Future Directors Programme’ develops the next generation of directors. Seventeen private sector companies have so far placed 20 Future Directors on their boards, with another four in progress.

Changing landscape

Mr Arcus said that the need for diversity of age in the boardroom reflects the rapid changes in the business landscape.

“The dividend that diversity pays is bringing different perspectives and more robust decision-making, effective risk management and better company performance. Our Institute has long held the view that diversity of thought and perspective in the boardroom improves business performance and innovation,” he said.

‘Future Directors Programme’ aims to give young talented people an opportunity to observe and participate on a company board for a year while giving the company exposure to this talent and the benefits a young mind can bring.

The Institute of Directors has called on boards to lift their game as board diversity was critical to maintaining a competitive and vibrant economy.

It released a guide to support the promotion of diversity at board tables, and help board chairs and key decision makers take steps to address New Zealand’s poor boardroom diversity statistics.

Women Directors

The government’s goal is to have 45% women directors on public sector boards. Women currently make up 43.4% of public sector boards.

This compares to the private sector where an Institute of Directors research showed that 77% of the top 122 NZX companies have less than 30% of women directors on their boards, with 39% having no women at all.

“The Institute believes encouraging business to buy in to diversity is the best approach,” Mr Arcus said.

Photo Caption: Simon Arcus

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