Board Monitor Europe 2022
Boards & Governance

Board Monitor Europe 2022

In 2021, there was a marked increase in number of appointments on European boards, as well as a slight decline in the shares of seats going to women and non-nationals.
About the report

This report is part of Heidrick & Struggles’ long-standing study of trends in board composition in countries around the world. Produced by our CEO & Board Practice, these reports track and analyze trends in non-executive director appointments to the boards of the largest publicly listed companies in Australia (ASX 200), Belgium (BEL 20), Brazil (BOVESPA), Canada (TSX 60), Denmark (OMX Copenhagen 25), Finland (OMX Helsinki 25), France (CAC 40), Germany (DAX and MDAX), Hong Kong (Hang Seng), Ireland (ISEQ), Italy (FTSE MIB), Kenya (Nairobi Securities Exchange Top 60), Mexico (BMV IPC), the Netherlands (AEX), New Zealand (NZX 10), Norway (OBX), Portugal (PSI 20), Saudi Arabia (Tadawul), Singapore (STI 30), South Africa (JSE Top 40), Spain (IBEX 35), Sweden (OMX 30), Switzerland (SMI Expanded), the United Arab Emirates (ADX and DFM), the United Kingdom (FTSE 350), and the United States (Fortune 500). Information about executives is gathered from publicly available sources, BoardEx, and a Heidrick & Struggles proprietary database.


The cascade of geopolitical events and systemic issues that society and business have to confront is set to continue with the fallout from the war in Ukraine, ongoing supply chain woes, and a looming economic recession. In this context, corporate boards will need to continue to evolve their composition and practices in order to successfully lead their organizations through both the near- and long-term futures.

Corporations’ license to operate—the fundamental contract between organizations and the communities within which they do business—has been changing markedly over the past few years, with society increasingly demanding that businesses and business leaders step up to fill a perceived vacuum of political leadership. There is a very clear expectation that companies take a stand on social and political issues,1 the war in Ukraine being a clear example of when companies were expected to sacrifice their profit and operations for the greater good. In Europe, in particular, businesses and business leaders are also being called on to support and help integrate the millions of war refugees. Even more immediate, requirements that companies act in a sustainable manner are being set into regulations all over the world, with Europe still leading the way.

Another increasingly important aspect of societal expectations is that companies take a broad approach to their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts, factoring in characteristics such as race and ethnicity, disability status, LGBTQ+ status, nationality, age, and religion. In Europe, a focus on gender continues to stand out. Gender is the only diversity characteristic that is being legislated across the European countries in our report. Norway was the first country to introduce quotas at the board level, in 2003. Almost 20 years later, the EU followed suit, requiring its member countries to allocate 40% of seats to women before June 2026.

So, how did boards move the dial last year on changing their composition to tackle these new expectations and mitigate the risk of losing their license to operate? In Europe:

Board Monitor Europe 2022 key findings image

In the face of increasing uncertainty, boards need to make sure they are prepared not only for today’s challenges but can anticipate what type of directors they will need to appoint to lead and future-proof their organizations.

For more, download the full Board Monitor Europe 2022 report.

The analysis in this report includes: Belgium (BEL 20), Denmark (OMX Copenhagen25), Finland (OMX Helsinki 25), France (CAC 40), Germany (DAX and MDAX), Ireland (ISEQ), Italy (FTSE MIB), the Netherlands (AEX), New Norway (OBX), Portugal (PSI20), Spain (IBEX 35), Sweden (OMX 30), and Switzerland (SMI Expanded).


 Edelman Trust Barometer 2022, Edelman, January 2022.


Thanks to Alice Breeden, Sylvain Dhenin, Imke Lampe, Claire Skinner, and Nicolas Von Rosty for their contributions to this report.

Stay connected

Stay connected to our expert insights, thought leadership, and event information.

Leadership Podcast

Explore the latest episodes of The Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast