Board Transformation Report 2021

Leadership in transition: how boards and directors are adapting to a post-pandemic reality

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Board Transformation 2021 survey and report

Are boards well equipped to deal with changing operational, strategic, technological, financial and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues? How will this new reality influence board priorities and do board directors have the skills to tackle these challenges?

The Board Transformation 2021 survey was undertaken between March and June 2021 among 270 senior business leaders, including board chairs, chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, chief risk officers, executive and non-executive directors, and company secretaries with the aim of finding out what the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been on corporate boards. How will boards adapt to a post-pandemic reality and will they transform themselves, or will transformation be forced upon them?

The key findings of the research report by Board Agenda & Mazars in association with Henley Business School show a boardroom community that is embracing change, increasing oversight of employee issues, focusing on the long-term resilience of the organisation, and giving equal weighting to risk management on the one hand and the opportunities for digital transformation on the other.

The report reveals that

  • Eight out of 10 boards (82%) are strengthening their employee wellbeing policies as a direct result of the pandemic.
  • More than half (56%) of boards have made substantial changes to the structure or operations of the business while nearly three-quarters have increased its long-term resilience.
  • Some 77% of respondents feel their boards have had the necessary agility to navigate changed priorities, though nearly half (48%) say there needs to be a review of boardroom capabilities.
  • 58% agree the need for greater emphasis on ESG.
  • Half (50%) say they are making changes to long-term liquidity, credit, and capital.

“Clear oversight of the enterprise has never been more important—the responsibility for governance, stewardship and compliance remains firmly on the boardroom table. Boards may be transforming, but they need to ensure they retain and enhance the necessary skills to carry out these functions. Having the right roles on the board has never been more important.”

Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of Governance and Leadership and Nada Kakabadse, Professor of Policy Governance and Ethics

Board Transformation 2021 report

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  • GDPR policy

    The personal information you supply on this form will be used to help us respond to your request, for quality assurance and for data analytics purposes. Your personal data will not be sold to any organisation, and will not be shared with any organisations outside the university apart from those that help us to provide this service or unless required by law. The information that has been provided in this form will be treated in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (2016) and all applicable data protection laws. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information. If, at some stage, you wish to be removed from our database, please advise us by emailing to info@henley.fi.
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Discover the Henley Boardroom skills programme

Professori Andrew Kakabadse - Henley Business School Suomessa

Professor Andrew Kakabadse

Professor Andrew Kakabadse is Professor of Governance & Leadership, Programme Director for the Board Directors’ Programme and Boardroom Skills programme as well as Chairman of the Henley Directors’ Forum. He has undertaken global studies spanning over 20,000 organisations (in the private, public and third sector) and 41 countries. His research focuses on the areas of board performance, governance, leadership and policy.

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