Kim Van Der Zon leads Egon Zehnder’s Global Board Practice and is based in the firm’s New York office. She is a trusted advisor to provide advice and counsel on matters surrounding best in class corporate governance, including board composition, board succession planning, non-executive chair succession, committee rotations, and board assessments, and is frequently engaged for CEO searches. Kim also works with companies forming new boards in preparation for IPOs and spin-outs, and advises in activist situations, helping clients construct preemptive strategies and countering real-time threats. She serves clients spanning all industries, from Fortune 10 enterprises to private equity-backed ventures. Kim regularly publishes articles and is a frequent contributor to publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Forbes, Chief Executive Magazine, and The Corporate Board on the topics of CEO and Board succession planning, diversity in the boardroom, the internationalization of boards, and activism and the boardroom. She has been named to the NACD Directorship 100 in recognition of her governance expertise and influence.
Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, Kim held senior management roles with Procter & Gamble, The Bank of Montreal, and Labatt Breweries (now AB InBev).
An MBA graduate of the University of Toronto, Kim started her management career at Procter & Gamble and also held senior roles in the financial services sector.
Proxy season, with its voting on director slates, shines a bright light on board composition—an aspect of governance that has come under increasing scrutiny from investors, directors and other observers. But the slate is only the end result of a director succession process that has become more and more complex and competitive.
In the last decade, the oversight responsibilities of the board have taken on a new level of complexity. Disruptive business models can come from any direction, and the types of risks the board must monitor have multiplied.
Quite often, board succession planning consists of a member announcing to the board that he or she plans to retire next year, and the board then gearing up to find a replacement (who typically differs from the retiring director only in being a few years younger).
There is now broad consensus that having a diverse board, where directors are drawn from both genders and from an array of races and ethnicities, provides the breadth of perspective that is essential in today’s global dynamic environment. But heightened awareness does not always translate to greater progress.
There is no doubt that the focus on board composition is a positive development in corporate governance, supporting the appointment of directors who can help boards continue to meet their increasingly complex oversight and advisory responsibilities.
The Path to the Boardroom is a three-part series of Executive Briefings designed to help first-time aspirants for a board seat negotiate the difficult route to success. Part I addresses the thorough preparation required to begin the process.
The Path to the Boardroom is a three-part series of Executive Briefings designed to help first-time aspirants for a board seat negotiate the difficult route to success. Part II provides successful strategies for meeting the unique challenges of interviewing for a directorship.
The Path to the Boardroom is a three-part series of Executive Briefings designed to help first-time aspirants for a board seat negotiate the difficult route to success. Part III offers guidance on getting off to a good start as a new director.
For good or ill, activists now are important players in the investor ecology, with increasingly successful records for changing a board’s makeup. At Egon Zehnder, we identified 58 incidents of investor activism against S&P 500 companies over the last two years. Of those, 16 contests involved changes to board composition, urging a “no” vote on the management’s slate of directors or proposing, or threatening to propose, an alternative slate.
Despite a widespread consensus that diversity is a talent imperative, many women board members are reluctant to claim causal links between board makeup and a company’s financial performance, reportsInsigniam Quarterly.
Egon Zehnder and The Conference Board are pleased to present a new Governance Watch webcast series that will focus on critical governance and operational issues important to corporate Board members and/or C-suite executives.
Growing volatility in the business environment has turned chief executive officer selection and succession planning into key board responsibilities, write Egon Zehnder consultants Pam Warren and Kim Van Der Zon in The Globe and Mail.
The recent spate of M&As and the “incredible state of affairs with activism” in recent years has prompted boards to appoint directors with a background in asset and investment management, says Kim Van Der Zon, leader of Egon Zehnder’s U.S. board consulting practice.
Boardrooms have long been the domain of executives in their 50s, 60s – and even 70s, now that more boards are loosening mandatory retirement limits. But many boards are also electing directors in their early 30s – very often younger entrepreneurs who are the leading lights of digital transformation.
The traditional approach of filling board seats as they become available must give way to a more deliberate, longer-term perspective on board composition. A well-defined, long-term strategy helps the board give director succession planning the sustained, focused attention that it needs.
Everyone agrees that CEO succession planning is critical. Yet many Chairmen are concerned that their own companies are underprepared for a change of CEO – and are exposed to the risk of a damaging leadership vacuum. This is the finding of an Egon Zehnder study in which more than 50 Chairmen and CEOs of major companies headquartered in France, Germany, the UK, and the US were interviewed.