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How to improve board and management relations, Russell Reynolds

Posted on Jun 6, 2017

The Board of a highly successful and high performing US materials company wanted an independent assessment of the Board in certain areas. The Chair wanted to review the Board culture to gain a deeper understanding of Board dynamics, to enable the Board to work together more productively and effectively, and provide an understanding of the relationship with the CEO and management.


In Depth Board & Management Interviews:

  • Conducted in-person interviews with all Directors and select members of Management to ensure that the overall Board culture was engaged, constructive and trusting, and that each Board member could contribute freely
  • Explored whether the Board’s relationship with Management was constructive and effective and the Board could appropriately challenge Management

Reviewed Board Structures & Processes

  • Reviewed Board and Committee materials and conducted relevant interviews to determine whether succession planning, M&A decisions, and compensation processes were effective

Created Blueprint for Recruiting Needs

  • Identified future director retirements and mapped current and future competencies for the Board. Benchmarked Board composition against peers and external best practices

Board Talent delivery

  • Based on composition analysis, recruited an outside NED to the Board


Defined Roles & Cultural Norms

  • Clarified the distinct roles and responsibilities of the CEO, Chairman, and Board
  • Aligned on communication and behavioural norms

Developed Succession / M&A Processes

  • Developed a template and process for CEO succession & talent review
  • Aligned on expectations around M&A process and cutoffs for Board approval

CEO Development & Coaching

  • ​Gathered developmental feedback on the CEO from Directors and management and created an actionable development plan for the Chair to deliver

This is an extract from the report “Improving Board & management relationships and communication” by Russell Reynolds Associates. To read more about the report go to