But there was a stark warning they would also face greater risks as they came into the firing line of corporate failures.
According to Ernst & Young, two out of three board directors of top 500 companies in the UK said the influence of non-execs would increase, especially in the technology and financial services sectors.
The survey found that the twin pressures of globalisation and difficult economic conditions would ensure non-execs would have more of a prominent role within an organisation.
‘The Enron situation will give further impetus to extending the role that non-executives will be expected to play in the effective running and control of business,’ E&Y’s Gerald Russell said.
But the risks would also increase as their legal responsibilities came to the fore – Lord Wakeham, a non-executive director at Enron, is facing investigation over his role at the failed energy company.
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Accountancy watchdog the FRC has dropped its investigation into the former chief financial officer of Tesco, nearly two years after the supermarket was engulfed in an accounting scandal
Colin imagines how Apple's logo might change in the wake of the EC's ruling over its Irish tax arrangements