Becoming an Independent Non-Executive Director (INED)

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Becoming an Independent Non-Executive Director (INED)

An independent non-executive director (INED) role is often a fulfilling step after (or towards the end of) an accomplished executive career.

In an era of widespread market volatility and unprecedented technological innovation, an INED’s ability to bring balanced independent judgment to the boardroom has never been so important.

Here at Broadgate, we’ve had the privilege of working with many talented INEDs, and we've seen first-hand the positive, far-reaching impact of their contributions.

If you’re hoping to transition to the next stage of your career plan and become an INED, here’s some advice you might find helpful.

Consider a Board Governance Certification

INED roles require a good understanding of corporate governance, leadership, risk, and controls and financial management (amongst others) – This is commonly why experienced C-suite executives are favourably placed to become INEDs.

These INED skills – and particularly risk management oversight - can be difficult to bring to bear on boards without executive experience.

Obtaining a specialised board governance certification can help. Many renowned entities provide world-class courses, including:

  • The FT Non-Executive Director Diploma

  • The Institute of Chartered Directors Programme in Ireland

  • The International Compliance Association Advanced Certificate in Governance, Risk and Compliance

It’s worth noting that whilst INEDs don’t have managerial responsibilities, they’re still bound by the same (or similar) legal and regulatory obligations as executive board directors, including sometimes personal accountability.

Learn About the Modern ESG (Environmental, Social Governance) Landscape

From the rise of the B Corps to unprecedented regulatory change (greenwashing sanctions are a good example), INEDs need to understand what the evolving ESG space means for their role.

Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybersecurity is tied to the resilience and longevity of most organisations. It’s important to familiarise yourself with cybersecurity fundamentals and the various digital security systems that most companies have in place. Without this knowledge and understanding you will be at a disadvantage compared to other INED candidates.

Quick Tips

  • Tailor your CV/Resumé – your INED CV is likely to vary significantly from your executive/management one. For example, an INED CV will need tailoring to encompass skills specifically relating to your track record serving on committees and other forums, interactions with and at boards, people challenges, culture, and experience with a wide variety of stakeholders (both internal and external), good judgement, risk and controls in real scenarios, and commercial acumen as a senior leader.

  • Build a strong, active online presence (personal professional brand) –grow a following on LinkedIn and regularly share your industry-specific insights with your network there; by doing this you’re making your skillset known to potential employers before you even get to the application and interview process. LinkedIn has become a candidate’s ‘calling card to the World’ and needs to give an accurate view of your track record and abilities.

  • Network with other INEDs – Networking with current INEDs can help you gain a better understanding of what your career path and future roles could be. And, importantly, INEDs in your network may be able to refer you for specific roles.

Why Companies Hire NEDs

INEDs are hired to provide expert oversight across a range of areas, and sometimes, bringing them on to a board is warranted by a specific situation, such as:

  • To launch an IPO (Initial Public Offering) – releasing shares to the public for the first time is an expensive and drawn-out process, and for some companies, it’s a make-or-break situation. In 2018 Spotify hired INEDs to oversee and strengthen the launch of their IPO.

  • The introduction of new technologies – the rate of tech adoption is skyrocketing. Corporations are turning to INEDs to help them oversee tech-enabled transformations. Tesla did this (also back in 2018).

  • Expanding into new markets – INEDs can be a powerful voice in executive proposals for market expansion. For example, it’s an uphill struggle to operate in unfamiliar regions without comprehensive awareness of the commercial, cultural, risk, legal, and governance factors associated with those regions. INEDs can provide both invaluable insight and support to navigate expansion pitfalls (including around local competitive forces).

Compliance, Risk Management, Financial Crime, and Fraud

The Broadgate team has also seen increasing demand for INEDs with skills and experience in compliance, risk management, financial crime and fraud. It can be difficult to know how to articulate these skills and experiences on your CV/resumé, especially if you’re attempting to move into an INED role for the first time.

Our consultants can help you through each stage of the process, whether that’s through CV-building workshops, interview guidance, market insights, or general recruitment support.

Support from Broadgate

As specialist business enablement recruiters, we know what it takes to thrive. If you need any support or direction from our consultants, contact us today – we’re here to connect you with opportunities that suit your unique skills and needs.

Becoming an INED does not happen overnight. It takes personal resilience, tenacity, and building your network with recruiters. Broadgate would love to be part of your success story.

Want to discuss the above in more detail? Book a time with Ben Adams, Founder and Managing Director, here: LinkedIn.