Experts Advise You Seek Help

WOB UK runs regular FTSE breakfasts for WOB members to hear from experienced directors and headhunters. Your scribe attended one recently where the guest speakers were Sue Kilsby, Chair of Shire PLC - a leading global biotechnology company focused on serving people with rare diseases - and Karin Barnick, partner at Korn Ferry.

Sue, an investment banker by profession, spoke engagingly about her FTSE career, which has seen her appointed as a Non-Executive Director to the boards of BBA Aviation PLC, Goldman Sachs International and Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. Great tips for those in the audience.

Karin then spoke about the head hunter scene in London which revealed that, as expected, the top headhunters in London take much the same approach as their Australian counterparts. She provided some interesting data on FTSE 350 boards.
In 2016 there were about 200 board appointments in total (a 10% turnover if you assume approximately 2,000 NEDs. Put another way, a single vacancy on a FTSE350 board comes up every 18 months or so and are needless to say, hotly contested. Korn Ferry did a number of these appointments.

Karin’s take on ‘what’s hot’ in 2016 is:
Boards are looking for different skills than in the past. Clearly the new world order is being noticed. They will consider younger appointments
In 2016, 97 of the 200 appointments were former CEOs. This is a reversion to type from some years ago.

She also talked about the dynamics of the process, saying that if you get to the short list for a FTSE 350 board then there will probably be two or perhaps three others in the mix. So getting to the short list is an achievement. The short list candidate has been well researched and reference checked by the head hunter. Short list candidates are highly suitable for the appointment. At this stage the candidate is yet to meet the company.

So next stop is to meet the company. Her comment was that a candidate then has the challenge to stand out at interview.  And her tip was "get help with the interview process so that you don’t waste the opportunity". Being highly skilled with suitable experience is not enough. How you present and interact is now paramount.

Both WOB UK and WOB Aust provide guidance about interviews. See How to Interview Well and /or give us a call.
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