Even maverick entrepreneurs appreciate the objective input of independent directors, who bring their own expertise, judgment, connections - and 'sanity check', says Sheridan Winn.
The position of non-executive director ought to be a coveted one: a couple of days' work a month in return for a few thousand pounds a year and the chance to feel useful. But non-execs have recently come under unwelcome scrutiny. As the dust settled around Enron and the rest, it became fashionable to point the finger at non-execs for not speaking up sooner or louder. And now we have the Higgs Report, which has put non-executives in the spotlight like never before.
If the position of these directors in large companies is increasingly important, how do they figure in small companies? Should fast-growing businesses automatically search for a non-executive director, and if so, what qualities should they look for?