We read with interest Board Intelligences December Newsletter where they interview  Sir Malcolm Williamson, Chairman of Resolution Ltd and Friends Life Group plc, the FTSE 100 provider of pensions, investments and insurance. His 4 points on what makes for an effective Board are excellent and we thought worthy of being shared again!

From your experience, what makes for an effective board?

There are four points that stand out to me.

First of all you need to build a board that is congenial as well as diverse. It’s a difficult combination to get right: you need diversity of thought, but too much grit in the oyster and you end up with dysfunction.

Secondly, you need to keep the board to a manageable size.

Thirdly, with the right mix and number of people in place, you need effective board packs and agendas. The information the board receives must be clear with the key points spelt out and not buried within bloated reports.

Finally, all of this requires not only a strong chairman but also a high calibre company secretary. I believe in separating the roles of general counsel and company secretary, or there’s a tendency to be short-changed on the secretariat support. A good company secretary will be highly knowledgeable of the ever changing legal and regulatory landscape and they’ll have the strength of character to be unpopular when they need to be.

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