Trewstar Corporate Board Services

Spencer Stuart’s 2016 annual board index

January 05, 2017

Dear Friends,

We hope that this New Year finds you re-energized and ready to make a difference in the areas that matter most to good corporate governance and creating opportunities for women on boards.

Did you see the results of Spencer Stuart’s 2016 annual board index? 1

Women account for 32% of new independent directors, the highest rate of female representation since 1998. Last year, 31% of new directors were female. However, digging a little deeper, we broke down the percentages and saw that fewer women were added to S&P 500 boards this year! The math is not complicated.

How did this happen? Even though the percentage of women increased ever so slightly, the total number of open board seats declined (376 in 2015 vs. 345 in 2016). As we seem to be making progress with women, we are slipping on refreshing our boards.

One of our greatest passions (and our firm’s purpose) is addressing the state of America’s boards given the rapidly changing issues faced by corporate America.

Recently, there was an article that summarized the findings of a study by the London Business School’s Leadership Institute. 2

The research suggests that despite external pressures created by economic uncertainty, digital disruption and increased need for transparency, many boards are struggling to adapt . . . only 29 per cent of respondents are creating succession plans focused on populating the board talent pipeline with a richer mix of backgrounds and experience. Over the past five years, we have personally met hundreds of qualified board candidates. Startling, unbelievable stories of corporate success. We have tapped into a deep vein of talent that could turn backward facing boards into forward leaning boards—and coincidentally, this talent is female.
Will 2017 be the year when it matters enough to address board composition?

Trewstar will continue to hold the following business tenets at our core:

  1. Our clients come first. We operate as an extension of your organization. Our deep listening to your needs allows our average search to be completed in four months. Our engagement letter is simple and fair.
  2. Our candidates spend time with us before they spend time with you. Getting the chemistry and experience match right has led to zero failed searches.
  3. Our senior advisors and senior team members were public company directors. We have the experience and seniority to be trusted advisors to our clients and candidates.

We look forward to working with you in 2017 so that together we can make a difference in the world of good corporate governance.



Beth Stewart
Founder and CEO
Trewstar Corporate Board Services