Who opens the window to the board room?
Increasing number of companies realize that it is not enough to have one digital alibi on the board. If you want to look ahead and discuss strategies, you need the interaction of several directors. Several boards now have a critical mass of young directors forged in the digital era.
David R. Beatty, a Canadian director, remarked in a recent blog on Walmart’s board. Three out of eleven directors are in their early forties:
Stuart Walton, born 1981. Founder of RZC Investments and part of the Walton family.
Marissa A. Mayer, born 1975, co-founder of Lumi Labs, former CEO Yahoo.
Sarah Friar, born 1977, CEO of Nextdoor
You do not have to go far from Stockholm’s horizon to find a company that has included age diversity along with gender. Finnair – the Finnish airline – has a board that includes three young directors out of a total of nine. Consider also the variety of backgrounds.
Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko, born 1981, is CEO of a Finnish design company Marimekko.
Mengmeng Du, born 1980, has a background as a digital entrepreneur and manager.
Jukka Erlund, born 1976 is CEO of Kesko, a trading company.
It takes leadership to bring about major changes. In USA and Finland, the board hosts the nomination committee. Did the chairmen of these two companies orchestrate the renewal of their boards?
Sweden is proud of having nomination committees elected by the general assembly that consist of three, sometimes four of the largest shareholders. Normally the board’s chairman is also on the committee. In this way the committees represent considerable voting power in the general assembly.
Who or what will open the window to Swedish boards? Will board evaluations show the way? Will the chairmen convince the committees? Will owners step up?