The corporate calendar is no respecter of pandemics. Certainly, rules can be relaxed but the work of the Board must go on. Some Directors must roll off while others roll on and, committee membership, and/or leadership, might need refreshing. The AGM may be deferred, or look very different, and meetings will be tech enabled allowing curious insights into the homes of your Board colleagues but the work of the Board cannot stop.

Indeed, crises have a way of exposing the fault lines in businesses, boards and those leading them. Decisions the Chairman was aware would need to be made at some point in the future, suddenly become pressing, and avoidance starts to look like a derogation of responsibility.  

How leaders perform in a crisis can also shine a light on unsuspected strengths as, inevitably, some step up to the challenge of keeping the business stable, whilst delivering in an entirely altered landscape. Come the moment, come the Director.

Good or bad, the insights gained as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic might well lead the Chairman to reflect on the composition and effectiveness of the Board both in the short and the medium term.

  • The shape of the succession plan for the CEO may be looking a little different as some internal candidates shine more than others. Is it time for a review of that plan?
  • Is the Board appropriately staffed to respond to the possible global downturn in the economy?
  • Does the Board need strengthening around risk capability and financial skills or, has the pandemic shown weakness around tech or supply chain?

How Stonehaven can help

We have proven strength in assessing top talent on Boards and Executive Committees. Our Board team has lengthy experience of delivering processes virtually based on recent needs for global talent.

We can rapidly undertake an assessment of key areas where you may feel exposed. We will tailor our approach to your specific concerns and this may include:

  • Talent mapping in defined areas
  • Delivery of the research phase of a Board search
  • Board Assessment
  • Assessment of an individual or a group of individuals as you reflect on CEO succession
  • Due diligence around an individual, or team, to help support your own judgements to include referencing and market intelligence.

Whilst we have evidence of some clients making offers which candidates are accepting without a meeting in person, this seems only to be relevant where there is a burning platform and with suitable risk mitigation clauses in contracts.

In the Non-Executive context this expedient is unlikely to be necessary. Forward planning and using this lockdown period to conduct the research for any Board needs will allow you to gain a head start once lockdown ends and/or some semblance of normality resumes. We would then be able to move to accelerated delivery of a shortlist.

Where the need is for assessment, the lockdown period is an excellent time for the Stonehaven team to take detailed but virtual briefings on any confidential assignment with a view to being able to launch a full process at speed once working conditions permit.


Simon Hall:                                            Phone Number: +44 (0) 7774 457 689