The results of the 13th annual ACSI study of board composition and non-executive director pay demonstrate some positive trends in 2013.  The proportion of women on ASX 200 boards has continued to increase (although the proportions are still low with 20% of all ASX 100 board seats and 12% of all ASX 101-200 board seats held by women).  In addition, average fees for, and the average age of, non-executive directors in ASX 100 companies fell slightly.  Less positively, however, the number of new appointments to ASX 100 boards fell and there are still around 11% of ASX 100 directors (and 19% of ASX 101-200 directors) with no ‘skin in the game’.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has released its 13th annual study of Board Composition and Non-Executive Director Pay into S&P/ASX 200 boards in 2013.  Key finding from the study include:

  • Gender diversity – Diversity on boards continued to steadily improve (although ACSI states that absolute numbers remain unacceptably low), with women accounting for nearly 20% of all ASX 100 board seats and 17.4% of all ASX 100 directors in (up from 18% and 16% in 2012 and 11% and 12% in 2009).  In the ASX 201-200, the proportions were lower (although still increasing), with women holding just over 12% of all board seats and accounting for 11.4% of the director pool (up from 9.9% and 9.6% in 2012);
  • Skin in the game – For the first time, the study included an analysis of directors’ ownership in the companies they govern.  ACSI’s research shows that nearly 11% of ASX 100 directors and 19% of ASX 101-200 directors (predominately non-executive directors) had no shares in the companies they govern;
  • New director appointments – The number of new appointments to ASX 100 boards fell, with 72 board seats filled by 69 directors during the sample period compared to 108 board seats in 2012. Conversely, in the ASX 101-200, the number of new appointments increased from just 50 in 2012 to 61 in 2013, filled by 59 directors.  This included 52 directors in the ASX 100 (12 females) and 46 directors in the ASX 101-200 (6 females) that were new entrants to the director pool.  These appointments were predominantly to non-executive roles, but included 14 executive appointments in the ASX 100 and 13 in the ASX 101-200;
  • Director fees – Average fees for ASX 100 non-executive directors fell slightly to $215,662 compared to $218,434 in 2012 as did non-executive chairperson fees which fell from $481,451 to $477,266.  In the ASX 101-200, average fees continued to increase rising to $138,260 for a non-executive director (up from $134,981 in 2012) and $231,952 for non-executive chairpersons (up from $225,534 in 2012); and
  • Age – For the first time in the history of the ACSI study, the average age of ASX 100 directors fell to 62.1 (down from 62.9 in 2012).

See also media release dated 14 November 2014.