ACEVO: charity chairs 'too relaxed' on board performance

Written by Andrew Holt

Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO, has called on charity chairs to do more to drive up the performance of their boards, as new figures suggest CEOs tend to be significantly more worried about board performance than their chairs.

The figures, drawn from the ACEVO/attenti pay survey of 576 chief executives and 159 chairs, found that chief executives were significantly more likely to be dissatisfied than chairs on:

The skill set of the board (chairs were more likely to be satisfied by 10 percentage points, with 57% satisfied versus 47% of CEOs)

The experience and knowledge of the board (chairs were more likely to be satisfied by 7 percentage points, with 67% satisfied versus 60% of CEOs)

The variety of general views/outlooks on the board (chairs were more likely to be satisfied by 12 percentage points, with 77% satisfied versus 65% of CEOs)

Responding to the figures, Sir Stephen said: “Too many CEOs worry about the skills on their board, but don’t feel they have an active ally in their chairs when it comes to tackling the problem.

"There is too much complacency about board performance in parts of our sector, and chairs need to be at the forefront in tackling it, rather than relaxing while their chief executives worry. We need more chairs to talk to their chief executives about whether their boards are set up to succeed – and to act if they are surprised by the answer.”

David Fielding, managing partner at attenti, said: "We know that having the right skills, knowledge and mix of outlooks on a trustee board is key to a charity's success - so it is worrying that so many CEOs and chairs don't see eye to eye on whether they have that mix."

ACEVO has responded by launching a new suite of governance review services and a governance helpline, supporting the foundation of a new Institute of Chairs, and encouraging chairs and chief executives to attend its annual conference on governance in tandem with discounted places.

The figures are drawn from the ACEVO/Attenti pay survey, due to be launched at ACEVO’s annual conference on 29 November:

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