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Global Experience: a Must for Newly Elected Board Members

Global Experience: a Must for Newly Elected Board Members

Heidrick & Struggles' Board Monitor Also Identifies Increase in Addition of Asian Board Members

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (Nasdaq:HSII), the Leadership Advisory firm providing executive search and leadership consulting services worldwide, has released the latest findings of its Board Monitor which analyzes newly elected board members from Fortune 500 companies.

Most notably, the Board Monitor finds that in the first six months of 2011 alone, the number of Asian executives inducted as board members is already at 14, which equals the combined placement number for both 2010 and 2009.

Additionally, something new this year was a look at international placements - defined as executives not from the U.S. who work for a non-U.S. based company - which was not tracked in 2009 or 2010. To date this year, nine new international directors have been elected, reflecting the increased interest in attracting international board members.

"Businesses are recognizing that assembling a diverse board, composed of a variety of backgrounds and skill sets results in a competitive edge in the marketplace," said Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and managing partner of the North American Board Practice at Heidrick & Struggles. "Companies want to have the right global experts at their Board table."

Key Findings

Among newly elected board members, diversity continues to be a focus in the first half of 2011. Additional key findings include the following:

  --  There was a significant increase in African American board member

     elections, doubling to 16 since the same period last year.

  --  The number of Hispanic board members fell slightly from six in the first

     half of 2010 to five in the first half of 2011.

  --  The number of women board directors remains the same for the first half

     of 2010 and 2011 at 33.

  --  The average age of newly appointed directors also stayed the same at 57.

  --  The addition of new board members overall in the first two quarters of

     2009 (152), 2010 (162) and 2011(159), respectively, has remained

     relatively the same.

While there is still clearly a preference for electing battle-tested leaders -- sitting CEOs and recently retired CEOs onto the board - the Board Monitor finds that more former CEOs or CFOs are serving on boards than their sitting counterparts because they likely have the time to devote to board service without any conflicts of interest that sitting executives might have.

Bonnie W. Gwin is a vice chairman and the managing partner of North America for the Heidrick & Struggles' Board of Directors Practice. She focuses on searches at both the director and CEO level across a wide range of industries.


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