Is board composition better in Norway or Denmark?!

Research shows that having a diverse professional board of directors encourages a variety of perspectives in the decision-making process and therefore contributes to safeguarding the future of the company.

Both the Danish Committee on Corporate Governance (CCG) and the Norwegian Code of Practice for Corporate Governance state the importance of the board being able to ensure diverse approaches in the way it manages its duties.

Diversity is much more than a question of gender, and therefore Leadership Advisor Group has conducted in-depth desk research (including analysis of over 330 CVs) to track the details of how the boards of the Norwegian OBX25 and the Danish C25 (i.e. the 25 most traded companies on the main index of the Oslo Stock Exchange and Copenhagen Stock Exchange) are composed, and can therefore illustrate the status today as well as changes over time in key diversity dimensions including:

• Type of experience across the boards (Finance, CEO, Strategy, HR, etc)
• Breadth of experience types on the board (e.g., avoiding a concentration of people with mainly Finance backgrounds or similar)
• Nationality
• Gender
• Age
• Size of the board (number of board members)
• Tenure of the board members

This report presents the results of our analysis as of late 2022.

The main findings are these:

• Danish C25 boards are more likely than Norwegian OBX boards to have members with other (external) board experience (59% vs 48%). Danish board members are also slightly more likely to have had CEO / MD experience (53% vs 49%).

This shows that although Norwegian boards seem more open than Danish to recruiting members without prior board experience and who haven’t had prior CEO / MD experience, both countries still seem to highly prioritize having members who have served on other boards or run companies as CEO.

• Danish boards are slightly more diverse than Norwegian in terms of including members with international viewpoints (based on % who have lived in a country other than the country of their origin and % who are non-local nationality), though the boards in both countries could become even more international for the future, depending on the geographical scope of the business.

• Companies seem to apply different logics regarding whether it is important to have board members who have significant industry experience (related to the industry the company is operating in), and whether a board should be composed by a broad or a narrow set of work experience.

o Danish board members are much more likely than Norwegian to have related industry sector knowledge (52% vs 39%).
o As for breadth of experience, boards in Denmark and Norway are very similar (average 8 experience types in Denmark and just over 7 in Norway), but there is a wide range in both countries, with some boards having only 4 to 6 experience types while others cover 10 or 11 of the 14 experience types.

• Interestingly, in both countries there are seven experience areas with continued low representation on the boards since we started our annual mapping in 2018: HR & Organization, Strategy, Laws & Regulation, IT, R&D / Innovation, Production / Supply Chain, and Public / State Experience.

o It seems that the boards are nearly universal in not (yet!) valuing these areas for board recruitment. The question can be raised whether boards still recruit in a traditional way, looking for experiences that current members believe will be important, based on their own specialty / experiences?

Feel free to download a copy of the topline results, including further details on age, gender, tenure and board size, using the form below.

To discuss the results or ask questions, please contact reception@leadershipadvisorgroup.com.

See our related research on the Danish C25 here and the Norwegian OBX25 here.

Report comparing board composition C25 and OBX25 2022 Leadership Advisor Group

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