Reflections on Board Recruitment in an International Context

As an international board network, Digoshen Exploring Leaders Board Network Members represent a broader set of countries with both interest and experience of multinational board positions.

At a recent webinar we welcomed Mary Francia, Partner at HIEC (HI Executive Consulting), who shared insights on Trends in Board Compositions and Insights on Board Recruitment in an international context which was also discussed among the participants from 11 countries.



According to a recent global board survey “Boards in Flux” done 2021 by Danish Board Network Association and Intersearch with 1782 corporate chairs and directors from 79 jurisdictions, 44 % of boards are now using Executive Search firms, however complimented with usage of board own network.

The average boards hold 6 members and still a staggering 20% of boards have no women on board. About half of the board has some international board members. 35% of boards had an increase in diversity focus and besides the focus on gender by 55%, other nationalities was focused by 45% of boards. In board recruitments 24% were focused on members with international backgrounds.

Our guest speaker Mary Francia is a Partner at H.I. Executive Consulting and Certified International Directors Program at INSEAD IDP-C. Mary is a Global Technology Strategy expert with over 25 years of leadership experience and P&L in the Telecom, Consumer Electronics, Media, and Healthcare sectors incl companies as Nokia, Philips, Flex, Somera, Time Warner and Air Liquide. Mary brings strategic clarity for talent acquisition and the ability to collaborate to drive strategic, transformative change with previous roles as Partner at Odgers & Berndtson, Board Member at INSEAD Directors Network, IDN, and current Ambassador for IDN in Americas.

Board roles in international board recruitment

Mary started out with explaining the approach many recruitments has when it comes to finding new board members, and shared an overview on how the board position linked to the strategy as well as to the other board members;


And then she explained about the priorities of complementing a team in competence areas, which is often illustrated in a skills matrix

Following the base information she shared some tips regarding the board CV and Bio

Board members interest and improvement areas

Following this framing we made a poll as preparation of going into breakout rooms to discuss experiences.

The poll revealed that 65% of participants was interested in getting an international board position and 60 % were interested in recruiting a board member from another country to their boards.

The improvement areas was to become better at nurturing their international network important and to make others aware of the skills they could complement with at the board.

The breakout room discussions were set to discuss what the key value add areas individual board member had, and their consideration for improvement areas.



In summary, the conclusion on board recruitment in international context is

  • Be clear about your three key value add areas
  • Be clear about to which organizations you might add value
  • Communicate actively and Network responsibly



For more Insights

You find Mary Francia on social media LinkedIn and on Twitter

Insightful blogposts on the topic

Getting Board Ready (by Mary Francia on INSEAD Directors Network blog)

Networking Strategies to Seat on the Board (by Helen Pitcher OBE on INSEAD Blog)

Welcome to the Boardroom: Your Second Career (by Hermina Ibarra & Jayne Broclehurst on INSEAD blog)

Why some boards add value, and some don’t (by Karen Loon on INSEAD Directors Network blog)


Earlier interviews at Digoshen of chairs and board directors

Talents on Board Agenda and Insights by Chair Pia Gideon (and related Podcast episode)

Experienced board chair Helen Pitcher OBE, inspiring boardroom excellence (and related Podcast episode)

Leading as board director in disruptive times with NED Håkan Österberg (and related Podcast episode)


This blogpost is originally shared at the blog of Digoshen,, and on the blog of the Digoshen founder .

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