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Spencer Stuart U.S. Board Index 2014

November 2014

First published in 1986, the 29th edition of this venerable publication continues the tradition of examining the latest data and trends in board composition, board practices and director compensation among S&P 500 companies. This year's study places a particular focus on board succession and director turnover, analyzing the increased interest surrounding board composition in terms of actual practices among some of the largest companies in the United States.

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Among the notable takeaways from this year’s proxy analysis:

  • Boards added 371 independent directors in 2014, the highest total in six years.  
  • Increasingly, boards are tapping first-time directors to fill board openings: 39% of all newly added board members, are first-timers.
  • Women continue to make inroads: 30% of new independent directors are women – the highest ever.
  • Retirement ages continue to increase: 30% of boards set a retirement age at 75 or older, up significantly from only 5% a decade ago. A full 92% of boards set mandatory retirement at 72 years of age or older.
  • Compensation continues to increase, with average per-director pay rising 6 percent. 
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