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An individual must be appointed to a board solely for the contribution that he or she can make. However, boards can be too narrow in defining contribution. Furthermore, boards can pay too much importance to subjective criteria like "fit" which leads to the appointment of individuals who look, think and behave in a manner very similar to those currently on the board. This leads to a narrow, collective, perspective of the board which curbs original thinking. It also makes it more difficult to identify the multitude of risks that may affect the business.  

Buchanan Harvey & Co. has been at the forefront of promoting diversity in boardrooms. The chairman was invited to make a representation to The Lord Davies of Abersoch's Review. We made a detailed representation and were rather ahead of the times, in calling for more female senior executives in addition to non-executives. We also identified some of the reasons why there was a lack of female senior executives and suggested measures to improve the situation. We are a signatory to the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms.  

We believe that gender diversification is one part of diversity in the boardroom. Many businesses now have a significant percentage of their customers, staff and suppliers from ethnic minorities. Furthermore, the economic power of the emerging markets is growing. Businesses which have board members from diverse backgrounds and cultures will be better placed to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risks. A diverse board may be less clubbable but it is more effective.


Buchanan Harvey & Co.

Building bridges between corporations, executives and countries.