Increased focus on ESG drives demand for non-exec directors

One of the biggest challenges for company boards committed to “doing the right thing” is the increasing focus on environmental, social, governance (ESG).

Irish based international board consultancy practice Board Excellence has launched a new arm to the business with a new non-executive directors’ search service.

According to Board Excellence, as the spotlight focuses much more keenly on ESG board governance, all organisations, public, private and non-profit, are looking much more strategically when selecting non-executive directors and board chairs.

“Many companies are aware of the benefits of having independent board directors, but the process of finding directors can seem intimidating”

Gone are the days of jobs for the boys or girls, says Kieran Moynihan, managing partner of Board Excellence, today’s board members are strategically chosen based on specific areas of expertise, leadership and management experiences, integrity and a deep ‘commitment to do the right thing’ for the organisation.

High calibre candidates

“Many companies are aware of the benefits of having independent board directors, but the process of finding directors can seem intimidating. Our new service provides a cost-effective solution, supporting companies at every stage of the process, from understanding what the company is looking for in a director, identifying high-calibre candidates, managing the interview/shortlisting process, right through to preparing the offer package.”

Board Excellence provides this personalised service whether the company already has an established board and wants to recruit a new director or chair, or whether it’s an SME or family business appointing their first independent director.

“What makes our service different is that, as the core of Board Excellence’s business is board evaluations and training, we know first-hand what good looks like in terms of a board director, the importance of the right fit with the board and executive team, and who will add significant value to the board and company.

“All Board Excellence partners are experienced directors and former senior executives themselves, so we have a deep practical understanding of boards and their dynamics,” said Moynihan.

Anne-Marie Taylor, recently appointed Partner, will be leading the Search service. 

“Too often companies don’t know how to go about finding a director and end up relying on suggestions from colleagues and advisors. This ‘tap on the shoulder’ approach means that companies are often limiting their options.

“If companies just appoint directors from within their own network, they can miss out on rich sources of talent which can bring innovation and fresh thinking to the business. Diversity – age, gender, nationality, experience – is proven to contribute significantly to improved decision-making and company performance. Board Excellence has an extensive network of potential directors with a wide range of backgrounds and experience.”

A business that recently benefited from the service is the popular athleisure brand Gym+Coffee, which partnered with Board Excellence to successfully appoint a board chair and a non-executive director with deep industry experience.

“From the beginning of the process, Kieran and his team worked with us to firstly understand how a successful Board should be structured and then helped us identify our needs and clearly define the job spec,” said Niall Horgan, CEO and co-founder of Gym+Coffee.

“Board Excellence’s network is incredible and they connected us with some fantastic individuals who all would have been suitable for our board.

“What was most impressive was that they understood our brand and business and matched our passion to find the right board members to help the business grow.”

By John Kennedy (

Published: 8 July 2021