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Becoming a non-executive chair

August 2020

This is a guide for people who aspire to become chair of the board or are becoming a chair for the first time.

We describe the steps to becoming a chair in the UK, what the role involves, and the personal characteristics needed to chair a board effectively. We focus on non-executive chairs of quoted company boards, although we briefly consider other types of board.

This is a great time for anyone thinking of becoming a board chair for two reasons: the opportunities are becoming more numerous and the role more interesting. For those who have had a successful executive career, it is a hard transition to make and yet it can be a deeply satisfying one.

Topics include

  • Why become a chair?
  • Am I suitable to be a chair?
  • Have you the time to take on this responsibility?
  • How long can you serve?
  • How does the appointment process work?
  • Closing the appointment
  • Taking over
  • Working with the CEO
  • Performance management
  • Managing the board
  • Strategy
  • Purpose
  • Risk
  • Committees
  • Shareholders and stakeholders
  • Other external relationships and the governance burden
  • Managing meetings
  • Leadership style
  • Personal development