Magazine Article | January 3, 2023

What Key Characteristics Or Attributes — Beyond Functional Or Scientific Expertise — Should A CEO Look For In Considering The Addition Of A New Board Member?

Source: Life Science Leader

HIGH-PERFORMING BOARD IS A CRITICAL COMPONENT of a high performing company. Thus investing time and effort in constructing and developing a high-performing board should be a high priority for any CEO. CEOs should play an active and thoughtful role in board construction, development, and rotation.

In highly technical businesses, such as life sciences, subject matter expertise is obviously a critical component of any board. Additional expertise should be considered depending on the stage of development of the company. However, beyond these obvious considerations, I believe it is important for CEOs to consider other factors, such as how they want the board to process information and provide guidance, how it interacts with management, and how it approaches uncertainties (which are frequent occurrences in our business). One of the most valuable board members I ever had was particularly good at saying, “I don’t understand why you are doing that.”

Most CEOs would say company culture is very important to them. Equally important, I believe, is boardroom culture. If CEOs ignore company culture, or board culture, I believe they do so at their own peril. I have found it can be easy to allow “developing a high-performing board” to drift down the priority list. I have also found that keeping it near the top of the priority list can pay great dividends.

THOMAS WIGGANS is chairman and CEO of Pardes Biosciences