Board advisors for corporate boards of directors and members provide expertise, guidance, and fresh perspectives to leaders. Top consulting professionals, keynote speakers and thought leadership consultants are typically hired to complement the existing group’s skills and knowledge as board advisors, especially in areas where directors may lack specific expertise. But who exactly is responsible for hiring top pros? The process can vary depending on the company’s structure, needs, and governance practices.

  1. The Board of Directors – In many cases, the board of directors itself initiates the process of hiring board advisors. The group may identify gaps in its collective expertise or recognize the need for specialized knowledge in emerging areas such as digital transformation, cybersecurity, or sustainability. A chair or a designated committee (often the Nominating and Governance Committee) may lead the search and selection process.
  2. The CEO and Executive Team – Sometimes, the CEO and senior executives may recommend hiring board advisors to the board. It typically occurs when the management team identifies strategic challenges or opportunities that require additional board-level expertise. The executive team may work in conjunction with the board to identify suitable candidates and make recommendations.
  3. Shareholders – In certain instances, particularly in publicly traded companies, major shareholders may push for the appointment of board advisors. It generally happens when shareholders believe the board needs additional expertise to address specific challenges or capitalize on opportunities. Activist investors, in particular, may advocate for external directors consultants as part of their efforts to influence company strategy.
  4. Independent Search Firms – Many companies engage executive search firms or specialized consulting firms to assist in identifying and recruiting board advisors. Consultancy agency leaders can provide access to a broader network of potential candidates and help ensure a thorough and unbiased selection process.
  5. The Nominating and Governance Committee – The board committee, responsible for board composition and governance matters, often plays a central role in hiring board advisors. Members may lead the process of identifying needs, setting criteria, and evaluating potential candidates.
  6. External Consultants – Companies may hire management consulting firms or governance experts to assess board effectiveness and recommend improvements, which may include suggestions for consultants and thought leader subject matter experts.
  7. Regulatory Bodies – In some regulated industries, regulatory bodies may require or recommend the appointment of keynote speakers or consultants with specific expertise to enhance oversight in critical areas.

The hiring process typically involves several steps:

  1. Identifying the need for additional expertise
  2. Defining the role and qualifications of the advisor
  3. Conducting a search for suitable candidates
  4. Evaluating and interviewing potential advisors
  5. Making a selection and extending an offer
  6. Onboarding the new advisor

It’s important to note that board advisors are usually not full voting members of the board but serve in a consultative capacity. Consultants’ appointment is often for a specific term or project and may be renewed based on the ongoing needs of the board and the company.

To hire board advisors is a collaborative process that may involve multiple stakeholders within and outside the organization. The main goal is to enhance the board’s effectiveness in guiding the company’s strategic direction and ensuring good governance.