Elevating Board Performance: Refreshment and Succession Planning

Like every other workplace, the boardroom looks different in 2021. Having the right individuals in the boardroom is critical. Corporate directors need to have the skills and experience that align with the company's long-term strategy. Diverse and fresh perspectives are also important. While boards have been focusing on these topics, other areas like director tenure and board succession planning are often addressed only when the board needs to replace a retiring director.  According to PwC’s 2020 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, boards would benefit from refreshment but are failing to plan for the next chapter:

  • 49% of directors say that at least one fellow director on their board should be replaced
  • 20% say board leadership’s unwillingness to have difficult conversations and 19% say an ineffective assessment process stand in the way of board refreshment
  • 10% of directors say their board doesn’t have a succession plan at all and 33% say it is ad hoc
  • For boards that do have a plan in place, 49% of directors actually share that plan with the entire board
  • Directors give board leadership the lowest marks in dealing with underperforming directors, with 25% saying leadership is not very or not at all effective in that area

This is not overly surprising considering they can be sensitive topics. So how should boards be thinking strategically to ensure optimal performance now and in the future? For boards that have not recently conducted an overall effectiveness review (covering composition, structure, succession, culture and behaviours) or have not implemented timely director performance reviews, now is the time to institute these practices. Register now to hear real world insights and learnings on how to take this on effectively.

May 27, 2021 2:00 PM ET



Shawn Cooper  

Managing Director and Canadian Leader of Board and CEO Advisory Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates; Director: Third General Investment Trust Limited, Queen’s University Smith School of Business, Soulpepper Theatre Company

Eileen Mercier

Corporate Director and member, ICD Shareholder Engagement Advisory Committee

Bill Young

Chair, Magna International, SNC Lavalin, Director, Intact Financial



Tracey Riley


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