Study: Efficient competencies for Board Members – 1

August 28th, 2012 – Vienna, Austria – AIMS International has launched the first issue of its international study about the most efficient competencies for Board Members.

Now more than ever in the midst of numerous corporate scandals, Board Members are subject to much scrutiny and their role is becoming increasingly important. Management requires their Board of Directors to contribute to the growth of their company while shareholders are demanding for more controls.

Over the last fifteen years, most advancement in the field of corporate governance have been driven by regulatory changes. For instance, in different countries, the regulators are imposing laws and regulations to the Boards of Directors such as Sarbanes-Oxley, separation of Chair and CEO roles, majority of independent Board Members, diversity requirements, Say on Pay and so on.

There are many other examples of progress in corporate governance. However, one area that remains unexplored is the science behind the professional competencies of Board Members in Board setting.

We found that there is very little scientific literature and references addressing specifically the subject. Most publications on corporate governance deal with regulations, structures and duties.

What are the most efficient competencies of a Board Member in a Board setting?

AIMS International conducted a research with the objective of establishing a framework to define, in clear terms, these competencies.

•    What are the most efficient competencies in a Board setting?

•    What are the underpinnings of each competency?

•    How can each competency be observed?

•    How can we assess objectively the competencies of a Board Member?

•    How can a new Board Member be assessed during the selection process?

The AIMS International research identified the underpinnings of six core competencies linked to the effectiveness of a Board Member in a Board setting:

•    Sense of Ethics

•    Strategic Thinking

•    Commitment and Sense of Responsibility

•    Judgment

•    Communication

•    Team Intelligence

AIMS International reviewed:

•    The definition for each competency in a Board setting;

•    The underpinnings and behaviors linked to each competency;

•    Which competencies are significantly most relevant and why;

•    An assessment framework for new Board Members.

This research was conducted through the collaboration of the following three partners:

•    Richard Joly, President of AIMS International Canada. The firm specializes in the recruitment of Board members and executives. To get an international perspective, AIMS International conducted face to face interviews with Board Chair and experienced Board Members of large corporations from seven countries: Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden and United States.

•    Dr. Jean Bédard, Professor at The College of Corporate Directors, Laval University. The College of Corporate Directors offers Board Members a unique, top-quality professional certification program focused on the best practices in governance.

•    Pierre Gauthier, President of Gauthier Murtada & Partners. The firm offers solutions in assessment, development and executive coaching. They also provide a wide range of psychometric tests and rigorous skills assessments.

Executive Summary – Part I

From our results, we concluded that Sense of Ethics is the fundamental behavior that everyone is seeking from a director before they are admitted into a boardroom. It is a ticket of entry.

The Sense of Ethics is preserved when a director has a clear independence of mind. However, the degree of ethics can be influenced by the motivation of the director to sit on a board.

Social status and compensation are the two main drivers that can lead to soften the independence of mind, especially if remaining on the board is very important for the director. In this case, the director may not want to challenge or confront the CEO in fear of being asked to resign from the board.

The second behavior in importance is… (to be continued in the next days.)

Corporate Communications

Christian Schulte +49 178 2854744

About AIMS International (

Incorporated in Vienna, Austria in 1992, AIMS International is an international executive search organization of independently owned and managed executive search firms who work collaboratively to execute executive search assignment for global clients around the world. AIMS International is represented by over 350 consultants in more than 90 offices in over 50 countries throughout all continents. It was ranked the largest executive search partnership in the world by Search-Consult Magazine.

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