The website stateboards.ie is the channel used by the Public Appointments Service to both inform the public of vacancies on State Boards and to collate expressions of interest in those roles for the Minister. The Public Appointments Service is the centralised provider of recruitment, assessment and selection services for the Civil Service, Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and other public bodies. The Public Appointments Service also ‘aims to provide an open, efficient and effective gateway and process to identify top quality people for consideration by Ministers for appointment to State Boards’.
Diversity in the boardroom is critical to the effective functioning of a board and to the overall performance of a business. Too financially orientated and the board may lack the sales or marketing expertise to drive the business forward. Too similar in terms of background, education or experience, and the board may have a narrow focus, potentially leading to a group-think mentality. A higher male to female ratio, or vice versa, and the board is likely to lack the gender balance needed to bring differing perspectives and insights.
The key purpose of a board of directors is to ensure an organisation’s prosperity by collectively directing the organisation’s affairs while meeting the appropriate interests of its shareholders and other relevant stakeholders, and complying with all necessary legislation and regulation. High standards of governance, transparency and accountability are expected of all organisations, with charity and not-for-profit organisations being no exception.
Tax is now recognised as a key risk and compliance issue in the boardroom and company boards must be able to formulate and communicate their tax strategy to all stakeholders. Directors must be confident and capable of asking the right questions in relation to their organisation’s tax strategy and to constructively challenge the executive with regard to the approach taken.
With businesses focused on daily operations relating to sales, finances, marketing and so on, there can often be little time for management to devote to the bigger picture or to step back and assess the long-term strategy of the business. This is where a board of directors is invaluable to bring strategic focus, direction and objectivity.
The Companies Act 2014 sets out in statute the fiduciary duties of a director of a company that is registered in Ireland. The Act consolidates the duties and responsibilities of directors by setting out a non-exhaustive list of eight fiduciary duties owed by directors to a company.
The current business environment places greater scrutiny than ever before on the actions and decisions taken by boards of directors. The onus is on all directors to ensure that legal and regulatory responsibilities are met and that decisions taken by the board are always in the best interests of the company.
The primary focus for many small and medium sized businesses is on managing the day-to-day business to achieve profitability and dealing with challenges that arise. Corporate governance may not be first on the list of priorities.
If you aspire to join a board of directors there are a number of steps that you should take prior to, and when preparing for, your transition to the boardroom.
Non-executive directors are usually chosen because they have a breadth of experience, specific skills and/or can bring specialist knowledge to the board.