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Men in Suits

Independent Directors on Corporate Boards: Knowing When to Declare the Innings


In the world of cricket, some of the greatest players are remembered not only for their exceptional skills but also for their ability to retire gracefully at the right time. Players like MS Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly, Glen McGrath, Kumar Sangakkara, and AB de Villiers made the crucial decision to retire at the peak of their careers, earning adoration from fans and allowing their careers in other facets of cricket to flourish. Surprisingly, there are striking parallels between these cricketers' choices and the decisions that independent directors on corporate boards often face during their tenure. Like cricketers, independent directors must navigate a journey filled with twists and turns, requiring them to discern when to continue playing or retire from their positions.

Independent Directors on Corporate Boards: Knowing When to Declare the Innings

  1. The Long Innings of Independent Directors: Independent directors join company boards with the intention of serving for an extended period, much like batsmen aiming for long innings on the cricket pitch. They bring valuable expertise, diverse perspectives, and independent judgment to the boardroom, ensuring the company's governance remains strong. However, as with any journey, there are challenges and predicaments that arise, calling for critical decisions.

  2. The Importance of Timing: Retiring from a position as an independent director, just like retiring from cricket, requires impeccable timing. Cricketers who retired at the peak of their careers avoided adverse contemplation and criticism, leaving their fans with a lasting impression of their achievements. Similarly, independent directors must assess the circumstances surrounding their tenure and recognize the right moment to "declare the innings."

  3. Recognizing the Situations: To retire gracefully, independent directors must possess a deep understanding of their roles and responsibilities. They must be vigilant in identifying situations that warrant an early declaration of their intentions to retire. Just as a cricketer may retire to make way for younger talent or to pursue other opportunities, independent directors may choose to step down when they believe it is in the best interest of the company, or when new perspectives and expertise are required on the board.

  4. Upholding Corporate Governance: One of the primary responsibilities of independent directors is to ensure effective corporate governance. By understanding the evolving needs of the company and the industry landscape, they can proactively assess the board's composition, skills, and diversity. This evaluation allows them to determine whether their continued presence will contribute to the company's long-term success or if it is time to pass the baton to a new generation of directors.

  5. Leaving a Legacy: Like cricketers who retire with a rich legacy, independent directors can also leave an enduring impact on the companies they serve. By making timely decisions about retirement, they create opportunities for fresh ideas, perspectives, and talents to thrive. Furthermore, their contributions and experiences can be leveraged beyond their board positions, enabling them to play influential roles in other facets of corporate governance, advisory roles, or mentorship programs.


The decision to retire as an independent director is akin to declaring the innings in cricket. It requires a profound understanding of the situation, a keen assessment of the team's needs, and an unwavering commitment to upholding corporate governance principles. When independent directors retire at the right time, they pave the way for new talent and perspectives, ensuring the continuous growth and success of the companies they serve. By emulating the graceful retirements of cricket legends, independent directors can garner respect, admiration, and appreciation from stakeholders while embarking on new chapters in their professional journeys.

Our Directors’ Institute- World Council of Directors can help you accelerate your board journey by training you on your roles and responsibilities to be carried out in an efficient manner helping you to make a significant contribution to the board and raise corporate governance standards within the organization.

Our ESG Expert certification will help you to amplify your understanding of corporate governance in a detailed manner paving the way for you to become a globally recognized ESG leader.

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