Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is big beautiful? Futurebuilders' heavyweight board

As the size of boards is one of my stable of hobbyhorses (as evidenced on this blog), I was interested to read Stephen Bubb, chair of the Adventure Capital Fund, suggest on his blog that his 14-strong Futurebuilders board was rather on the large side. He wrote:

I wanted a diverse board which combined talent from investment banking and venture capital and great people from the sector. And we have managed to get sector people from small, medium and large charities and a social enterprise. But to confess. we have done this at the expense of a perhaps too large a Board. But in time people leave so it will work out I guess. A challenge for the Chair. It will keep me on my toes; but that is good . I do not like the supine. Nothing better than intellectual challenge to sharpen decision making.

Managing those meetings with all those high-powered professionals on board will definitely be a challenging task. My concern would be whether such a large board will be able to keep managers on their toes.

I would be a bit uncomfortable relying on people leaving “so it will work out” – although members might walk if they feel that the board is too large to be cohesive and effective (and they struggle to get their voice heard in the crowd).

We’ll have to watch this one.

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