by Cydney Posner
According to this article in the WSJ, a forthcoming survey from accounting and consulting firm EisnerAmper LLP shows that the overwhelming majority of directors favor age and term limits, just not for themselves.
The firm surveyed directors at more than 300 companies (public, private and not-for-profit). The article reports that, while 75% of those surveyed said that they supported age and tenure restrictions, 61% said that they were not subject to term limits and 76% said they were not subject to age limits. According to the article, large public companies that do impose board restrictions typically impose retirement age restrictions; however, many companies don’t want to be compelled to lose directors who are still “vital contributors.”
Interestingly, while only 3% of S&P 500 boards specify term limits, the average board tenure among the S&P 500 is only 8.5 years, according to recruiter Spencer Stuart. According to Capital IQ, fewer than 1% of directors at large companies are under 40 years old, while about 19% are over 69 years old.
The survey also showed that half of the directors responding agreed with the use of diversity goals; those who disagreed contended “that ‘experience’ and ‘skills’ should drive board member selections as opposed to diversity factors.”