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Board composition

2022 UK Spencer Stuart Board Index

2022 Snapshot


years is the average CEO tenure, down from 5.8 years in 2021

 77 %

of boards are composed solely of independent NEDs


is the average age of female NEDs, three years younger than men (61.6)

Size and independence

The average board size is 10, a figure that has been consistent for the past decade. 38% (57) of boards comprise more than 10 members, the largest boards being WPP and Berkeley Group Holdings with 15 members each.

At most companies the CEO (95%) and the CFO (89%) sit on the board, and 19% of companies also have other C-suite, regional or divisional CEOs as board directors. At five each, Berkeley Group Holdings and Ocado Group have the greatest number of executives sitting on the board. At Berkeley three divisional managing directors join the CEO and CFO on the board; at Ocado, they are joined by the COO, general counsel and a divisional CEO.

There are six executive chairs (4%) in our sample: Nicholas Vetch at Big Yellow Group, William Jackson at Bridgepoint, Micky Arison at Carnival, Said Darwazah (chair and CEO from May 2022, after our cut-off date) at Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Peter Cowgill at JD Sports Fashion (left the board in May 2022) and David McMurtry at Renishaw. They are mostly founders or owners of the companies they chair.

The proportion of independent non-executive directors has remained relatively stable at 93% for the past decade, and 77% of boards in our sample are composed entirely of independent NEDs.

Length of service

The average tenure of non-executive directors currently in post (including chairs) has been stable for more than a decade, at around 4.3 years. A small proportion of NEDs (4%) and chairs (8%) have exceeded the recommended term limit of nine years; reasons given include having gone through a recent acquisition or waiting for the conclusion of the CEO succession process.

CEO average tenure has decreased from 5.8 years in 2021 to 5.4 years in 2022. CFO average tenure has increased from 4.2 years in 2021 to 4.5 years.

Tenure on board per role
Average <1 year 1–3 years 4–6 years 7–9 years >9 years
Chairs 5.3 16% 35% 35% 10% 8%
Non-executive directors 4.3 22% 33% 34% 7% 4%
Women 3.4 28% 36% 27% 7% 2%
Minority ethnic directors 3.1 32% 33% 24% 6% 5%
Non-UK nationals 3.5 26% 33% 31% 6% 4%
CEOs 5.4 11% 27% 35% 11% 16%
CFOs 4.5 24% 31% 27% 7% 11%
Other executive directors on the board 7.8 18% 22% 30% 10% 20%


The average age of non-executive directors has increased very slightly, from 59.8 years in 2021 to 59.9 in 2022. The same trend is seen among chairs, whose average age has risen from 64.9 in 2021 to 65.

The cohort of women NEDs is slightly younger on average (58.5) than its male counterpart (61.6). Newly appointed non-executive directors are, on average, three years younger (56.7) than those they are joining on the board (59.9).

CEOs are, on average, 55.6 years old; on average CFOs are three years younger (52.5). In terms of age distribution, the CFO role has the largest proportion of directors under 45 (10%).

Auto Trader Group has the youngest board with an average of 50.5 years, and, in common with Darktrace, 44% of its directors are under 50.

Age distribution by role