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Men in Suits
  • Directors' Institute

Becoming a Non-Executive Director: A Journey Worth Taking

If you are looking for a new challenge and have a wealth of experience in business, becoming a Non-Executive Director (NED) might be the perfect opportunity for you. However, finding a non-executive role is not a simple or straightforward process. It takes education, preparation, skills, and networking to land your first seat on a board. But with dedication and effort, the destination is worth the journey.


The Role of a Non-Executive Director

NEDs and executive directors have the same duties and responsibilities. However, NEDs are typically ‘outsiders’ to the company, detached from the day-to-day operations, and valued for their objective insight. Their role has a very different dynamic than an executive director’s. Among other things, they contribute a unique perspective to corporate governance, strategy, risk management, and succession planning.


The Value of a Non-Executive Director

A company’s NEDs must complement the skills, perspectives, and experience of the board. They are external to the company, and their value is in providing objective advice. The role of the non-executive director requires the ability to negotiate and to have a high amount of integrity.


The Process of Becoming a Non-Executive Director

To become a non-executive director, you should educate yourself to understand the legal requirements set out in your country’s Companies Act, and you should understand the regulatory environment very well. It would help if you also understood GDPR and data protection and should be prepared to undertake further training to cover any gaps in your knowledge.


Networking is Key

Since the market for non-executive roles might be small, getting yourself noticed by the right people is essential. You should have the ability to market your credentials accordingly. Realistically, it can take a while to secure an appointment. This could be between one and two years of networking and appropriate training and development.


Show Your Value

Successful boards are made up of different people, but there are also some commonalities. You should have excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrate your experience and these traits on your CV. You should show that you can invest the time in learning about the business, travel if necessary, and understand and work with people.


Finding a Non-Executive Director Role

You can find non-executive roles either through connections, advertisements, recruitment firms or by approaching specific companies you have an interest in working with. However, many are appointed through personal relationships, so it is vital to build your network.


In conclusion, becoming a Non-Executive Director can be a rewarding experience. It requires effort, dedication, education, preparation, skills, and networking. The journey might not be simple, but the destination is worth it. If you have a wealth of experience in business and are looking for a new challenge, becoming a Non-Executive Director might be the perfect opportunity for you.


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