Aussie Board Directors Failing Basic Maths

Yesterday we highlighted how large Australian businesses don't have a clue about online business, and here's a not-so-oblique clue why. Research by QUT suggests that Australian company board members can't even agree on how many members their board has, with only 15 per cent of boards providing a unanimous answer. Remember: these people are being paid to track numbers. [The Conversation]


    Vast majority of them sit on more than on board, that is probably a contributing factor.
    I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't even sure how many boards they were actually on let alone remember how many members each board has.

    Sat on a Board have you Angus? Directors are not paid to track numbers, they are paid to govern. That means tracking the appropriate numbers based on materiality, and this aint one of them. Also depends on how the question was asked and by whom. If ASIC asked the answer given would be pretty spot on. If some survey asked, you might just try to remember who was at the last BM rather than waste time. That number might include the CEO (usually at BM's but not actually a board member), Company Sec, and so on. All it takes is one director to forget that NED Sue's been unavailable for the last two meetings and then that company is in the non-unanimous category.

      I'm still fuming at this. It's just a cheap, jealous shot at people who actually take risks and generate wealth (and jobs, and tax dollars). What angers me most is that the Board-bashing is from academics and the left-wing whiners at the Conversation, all of whom rely on government handouts, paid by... oh that's right - people who contribute. Maybe if these people actually had some marketable skills outside the cloisters or their keyboard and contributed towards GDP they might understand what's important.

        "Generate wealth"? God's sakes man, where did you learn about economics from? The bible?
        Lovely little utopian plutocratic Ayn Rand theory you've got going on there too BTW. Your politics seem a little extreme on the right...

    Companies arent paying their boards the big bucks to remember how many people sit on the board... The board paper will list the members, if they really want to know they can look it up. what a ridiculous survey.

      I'm pretty decent at maths, and I just tried to recall how many people are in my team at work. It took me well over a minute to get the right number (nine plus two part timers). I'm not in HR, so the size of the team isn't something I need to be able to recall.

      Remembering how many other people are on the board isn't useful information. They usually turn up once a month or so, spend a few hours with each other, and then head off. All other communication is handled by PAs and admin staff.

    The writer of the Conversation article added a comment
    " In governance terms, do you count the CEO (if not a board member), the company secretary, the CFO, etc. While understandable when explained, it does show how people think quite differently about the same issue."
    That is, there are people at the board meeting who are not directors so it isn't simply mentally counting the faces round the table.

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