Future Directors programme the way forward for Kordia

12 Oct 2015

The board members of telecommunications company Kordia are about to appoint a new member unlike any other they have had before.

The state-owner enterprise is one of the latest companies to join the Future Directors programme, an initiative created to develop the next generation of governance leaders.

This means a promising future director will get to sit on Kordia's board for a year, contributing to board discussions like any other board member – just without the power to vote.

A shortlist has been created and the appointment of the future director is expected to be about a month away.

Kordia chairwoman Lorraine Witten said it had drawn up a shortlist for the role and an appointment would be made in about a month.

She found out about the Future Directors programme when she recruited one of the first participants of the programme, Sheridan Broadbent, who served on Auckland Airport's board during her time with the programme.

Witten said Future Directors better prepared Broadbent for her role now on Kordia's board.

"The fact she had the credibility of sitting on such a substantial board ... it's a difficult thing getting the experience you need to sit on a board of a larger or more complex company. You look for it as a chair – for people who have that experience," she said.

Witten supported having greater diversity of talent in governance. Kordia's board consists of three women and four men of varying ages.

"We understand a more diverse board and leadership is likely to lead to a better performing company," she said.

"In our industry in particular a younger perspective is very relevant because we're into media distribution, telecommunications. Having a younger person on the board will be helpful and insightful in discussions around strategy and where media in particular is going."

Administered by the Institute of Directors, the Future Directors programme was founded in 2013 by The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall, Des Hunt from the New Zealand Shareholders Association and KordaMentha senior partner, Michael Stiassny.

Stiassny was a strong advocate for diversity on boards, which was why he joined Tindall and Hunt when they approached him with the idea for Future Directors.

As well as helping younger directors with some governance experience get to a larger table and earn some stripes, the boards that took on programme participants would get better discussions in the boardroom, he said.

"I was always consumed by the fact that boards almost don't know what they don't know," Stiassny said.

"All the theory in the world shows that if you put people together from a diverse age, gender, ethnicity you will get a completely different discussion."

This article is published with permission from www.stuff.co.nz

 - Stuff article