A closer look inside South Africa’s listed companies Boards
BossJansen Executive Search, leaders in Non-Executive Director and C-Suite sourcing has undertaken extensive research to get a better view of exactly how the listed companies on the JSE Boards are made up.
At a glance, the research shows that there are 385 listed companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and Alternate Exchange (Altx), with a total of 2566 Board members making up these active Boards.
These 2566 Board members are divided into 1632 Non-Executive or Independent Executives and 934 individuals made up of executive directors (CEO, CFO, COO etc) from companies. This gives the split between Non-Executives and Executives, as 63.60% to 36.40%, showing a healthy level of independence across the Boards listed on the JSE.
In terms of equity demographics, there is a total of 854 equity individuals currently sitting on JSE boards made up of 479 (18.66%) equity males and 375 (14.61%) equity females, giving a total of 33.28% for all equity individuals operating on SA’s listed entities. This shows that the majority of South Africa’s listed Boards are still very under-represented pertaining to equity Board talent.
When you delve a bit further into the various JSE Boards it becomes apparent that there are a vast number of individuals around 14% of the total JSE Board members, who have more than one board appointment. The total number of these individuals who hold more than one Board position is 359, with 115 of these individuals sitting on 3 or more Boards. These 359 ‘multiple Board sitters’ together make up 906 Board roles on the JSE. According to BossJansen’s research, the person with the highest number of Board appointments on the JSE is Chris Seabrooke.
The demographic make up of these ‘multiple Board sitters’ is made up as follows; 51.53% white male, 25.07% equity female, 18.94% equity male and 4.53% white female, showing credence to the statement of “the same of old faces on the same old boards” which has been a problem on SA Boards for some time now. Current research also shows that a major problem on SA Boards is the average board tenure of Non- Executive Directors, which is currently around 5 years, which can limit the “blooding” of new Board talent on an ongoing basis.
The most desirable qualification for any potential new Board member is that of a Chartered Accountant, where there is a particularly strong demand in the market for female equity talent to take up positions on a company’s audit committees.
The main issue that was highlighted from our research is that there is not enough opportunity for new young Non-Executive talent to gain exposure to the workings of listed companies Boards. South Africa’s listed companies need to take responsibility for growing new talent, particularly equity talent, to ensure that a new breed of Non-Executive is afforded an opportunity to showcase their skills in this environment. BossJansen further discovered that many young potential Non-Executive Directors would even look at taking up a Board role, without any remuneration, simply to add to their skill sets and to gain experience.
Currently the average size of a Board on a JSE is 6 members, with the top 20 largest boards on the JSE all having in excess of 15 members.