Managers have to be fast on their feet to gain a boardroom seat.
Size of board % in each band
(no.of executive directors) 1990 1998
11+ 10 7
9-10 18 5
7-8 10 9
5-6 38 22
3-4 18 31
1-2 5 22
Source: Institute of Directors' Sign of the Times survey,1998.
Today's crop of 'fast-track' managers who aspire to a seat on the board in the not-too-distant future may be slugging it out for a dwindling number of places. According to the Institute of Directors, the most common board size has shrunk from six in 1990 to four in 1998. The proportion of very large boards has also declined. In 1990, 28% of respondents sat on boards with nine or more members. In 1998, only 12% face the prospect of the coffee running out before it reaches their end of the table.
Also revealed is the fact that 40% of companies now have at least one female executive director, and 9% have two or more. Unfortunately, there are no comparable figures for 1990. The Institute did not consider this subject 'of sufficient interest' for inclusion in its last survey, which took place eight long years ago.