NACD - National Association of Corporate Directors
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Policies and Procedures

Each year since 1987, NACD has awarded a Director of the Year Award to a public company director whose recent board service exemplifies the knowledge, leadership, and excellence in corporate governance that our organization promotes. In 2007, NACD created a lifetime achievement award named in honor of B. Kenneth West, the former NACD board member whose exemplary leadership and consensus-building skills remain an inspiration to the director community.

Nomination Process:

Nominees for Director of the Year and the B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award require letters of testimonials from board peers and colleagues. All nominations and supporting documentation must be received by February 1, 2019. It is the responsibility of the individual or organization submitting the nomination to arrange for the letters of recommendation to be submitted to NACD. Letters of recommendation from other board members and executives who have served with the individual are weighted most heavily in the selection process.

A nomination package must include the following elements in order for it be sent to the selection committee for consideration:

  • A nomination form or facsimile
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation supporting the candidate from board colleagues and peers.

The nomination material should describe the candidate's attributes and achievements and provide detail into how the nominee exemplifies the principles of director professionalism: integrity, mature confidence, informed judgment, and high-performance standards.

  • Nominations for the Director of the Year Award should focus most heavily on recent achievements.
  • B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award nominations should endeavor to illuminate the full scope of achievements throughout the nominee’s career.

Nomination Requirements:

The Director of the Year are selected based on a criterion that reflects NACD's standards of director professionalism.



  • Demonstrate the highest ethical standards on both a personal and professional level
  • Set a notable tone-at-the-top in promoting the company's vision and values
  • Consistently demonstrate candor, fairness and openness to others' opinions
  • Exhibit courage and leadership under duress, doing what is best for the corporation and its shareholders in the face of countervailing pressures inside or outside the boardroom

Mature Confidence


  • Value board and team performance over individual performance, keeping ego in check
  • Facilitate superior board performance, bringing out the best in peer directors
  • Form constructive working relationships and collaborate with an independent attitude
  • Participate in the development of future leaders and directors

Informed Judgment


  • Provide wise, thoughtful counsel on a broad range of issues
  • Maintain leadership in their fields of endeavor
  • Demonstrate judgment and discretion that is trusted by their peers
  • Have a track record for actions which have guided their company in maintaining consistent long-term profitability, pursuing significant business opportunities, improving shareholder returns, and/or dealing effectively with a crisis or other major change

High Performance Standards


  • Have a history of achievements that reflect high standards for themselves and others
  • Devote time to the job, both inside and outside the boardroom, demonstrating rigorous preparation and participation
  • Foster an environment of constant improvement of strategic goals, performance and innovation
  • Demonstrate a focus on creating and balancing value for shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders

Only nominees who have not previously won either honor will be considered. 

The winners of NACD Chapter Director of the Year Awards are eligible to be included as candidates for the national awards, and the same nomination requirements will apply. The chapter president or administrator must submit an official nomination form and also arrange for letters of recommendation to be forwarded to NACD.

Nominators should carefully consider which category would be the most appropriate based upon the candidate's level of involvement and achievements with each type of organization; however, NACD reserves the right to move nominees between categories if they are eligible to be considered in more than one category. A director may win an award in only one category in the year of nomination, but may be re-nominated for another award in subsequent years.

Directors who are currently serving on the board of NACD or one of its chapters are ineligible for nomination. An exception will be made only in the B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award category if the board member is serving the final year of a third term and will be retiring from the board.

Selection Committees:

A committee is formed for the purpose of reviewing the slate of candidates within the appropriate category. Each committee will consist of four or five individuals who have experience and knowledge of the responsibilities of directors in their specific category, and possess significant knowledge of corporate governance practices and issues. Independence and diversity of thought should be a priority when considering potential committee members. Selection committees often are populated with a previous Director of the Year and B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award winners who understand the nature of the award and its criteria. The list of potential selection committee members is approved by the NACD senior staff with oversight for the Directorship 100 program.

The selection committee members are presented with expanded biographies, the nomination form, and supporting letters for each nominee, plus a candidate summary spreadsheet and assessment tool. They commit to carefully review each of the candidate profiles for the Director of the Year and B. Kenneth West Award nominees within their category, to participate in conference calls to discuss the candidates, and to make their final recommendation for the recipient of the award and a runner up. They agree to complete confidentiality in the process.

Each committee's selected winner is submitted to the NACD board for final ratification. The board ratifies the winners with a majority vote and the winners are final.

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