State of the American Boardroom

State of the American Boardroom

NACD explores a wide variety of topics that make their way onto board agendas. The State of the American Boardroom surveys are a valuable resource for boards seeking affirmation that their governance practices are effective, fit for purpose, and clearly communicated to stakeholders. It is comprised of four different surveys taken over the calendar year. The trends and insights highlighted here can help boards assess priorities, explore emerging business themes, and evaluate the effectiveness of their oversight practices and their governance approaches.


Key Findings

  • Virtual Meetings Have Their Challenges, but Prove to be Good Enough

    Despite 36 percent of directors saying digital competence was a weakness and 47 percent saying ensuring virtual meetings were as effective as in-person meetings was one of the top three challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, 93 percent of directors report being able to govern effectively in the new environment. 

    American Board Practices and Oversight Report

  • Incremental Progress Toward Gender Parity

    The gender balance on corporate boards is continuing to improve. Thirty-nine percent of incoming directors were women, while 61 percent of incoming directors were men. In light of the gender breakdown of departing directors—86 percent were men and 14 percent were women—this has made the overall Russell 3000 Index companies’ gender breakdown 79 percent men and 21 percent women.

    Inside the Public Company Boardroom

  • Board Attention Is Focused on Trends Impacting the Future of Work

     Four of the top five trends directors believe will most influence their organizations in 2021 reflect changes in the way work was done over the past year. These trends include the increasing pace of digital transformation (50%), ensuring safe working environments for employees (49%), changing cybersecurity threats (39%), and increased competition for talent (38%).

    Trends and Priorities of the American Boardroom