How Do You Become a Non-Executive Director?

Jo Haigh is the CEO of FDS, a boutique corporate finance business, and is a highly experienced Non-Executive Director (NED). She outlines how to go from the frontline to the boardroom.

A NED is not there to run the company, because they have no operational role. In fact, a poor NED interferes with the day to day decision making of the executives. Instead, the role of a NED is to challenge constructively the executive’s propositions, by supporting and guiding them through issues that the business faces. A good NED can communicate with people at all levels of an organisation, and act as its conscience.

Many companies are keen to increase diversity in the boardroom, which gives veterans a great opportunity. In addition, companies are under increasing pressure to demonstrate good corporate governance, and Service leavers are respected for their strong leadership, loyalty and integrity. In addition veterans bring a whole wealth of other complementary skills, such as determination, stamina and problem-solving.

NED roles are ideal for people wanting flexibility, giving them time to pursue other voluntary and part-time roles. Being a NED is intellectually demanding, which makes a meaningful impact on the organisation they support.

However, Service leavers may find their lack of commercial experience presents a challenge. Traditionally, a NED has already been a business manager or boardroom member, but veterans can quickly learn the required skills. This is why we launched the OnBoarding Officers Programme, which helps transitioning and former officers into NED roles, by giving ongoing training and support.

Find out more about the OnBoarding Officers Programme.

Ask the Experts
You can read Jo’s answer, as well as other industry leaders, in the latest issue of Pathfinder Magazine – the monthly publication for Service leavers. The OA edits a regular article called ‘Ask the Expert’, in which career questions are answered by a panel of relevant experts. Read the full article.

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