Board Monitor Europe 2019
Boards & Governance

Board Monitor Europe 2019

Europe’s public company boards are seeking a balance of experience and new perspectives. This year’s report highlights the different paths the boards in each country are taking to achieve that diversity.
Heidrick & Struggles
Board Monitor Europe 2019

In this annual Board Monitor Europe report, we examine for the third year a range of data on the background and experience of newly appointed independent, non-executive directors, by region and country, compared with past years.1

As the boards of Europe’s public companies strive to do more than ever to meet a challenging business environment, diversity of board members’ background and experience is key to success. Given the need for organizational change in this era marked by geopolitical and economic volatility and uncertainty, as well as disruptive shifts in many industries, it is crucial that boards expand their knowledge base and become more resilient.

Our analysis surfaced the following key findings:

  • Of the 503 independent seats filled on the boards of CAC 40 (France), DAX 30 (Germany), ISEQ (Ireland), AEX 25 (Netherlands), PSI 20 (Portugal), IBEX 35 (Spain), and FTSE 250 (United Kingdom) companies in 2018, 62% went to current or former CEOs and CFOs.
  • Some 352, or 70%, of those seats were filled by directors with previous board experience.
  • Some 191, or 38%, went to women.
  • Some 61, or 12%, of the 503 seats were filled by appointees with experience in cybersecurity, and 121, or 24%, by appointees with digital or social media experience.
  • Nearly half of the seats, 49%, were filled by people with substantial experience in financial services, including 9% with experience in financial risk. The prior career experience of new directors varied widely among countries:

    • Companies in France, for example, added the largest share (34%) of newly appointed directors with consumer experience, while the supervisory boards of German firms and boards of Spanish firms both added industrial experience with nearly half (46% and 47%, respectively) of their new directors.
    • Boards of French firms also added digital experience with just about a third of their new directors; those of German firms added digital or social media experience 40% of the time. At the other end of the scale, boards of firms in Portugal added no digital, social media, or cybersecurity expertise in 2018.

  • Some 182, or 36%, of the 503 new seats went to people from countries other than the country where the company’s headquarters are located. The percentage of non-national appointees also varied widely by country—from a high of 62% in the Netherlands to a joint low of 32% in Spain and the United Kingdom.


1 This report includes data on directors appointed in 2018 in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Note that previous Board Monitor Europe reports did not include country data for Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, but 2017 data for those countries are included here for comparison.

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