‘Higgs will cause talent shortfall’

Link: Read our Higgs’ special report

The new code restricts the number of non-exec posts that can be held by executives, forbids CEOs from ever becoming chairman at the same company and proposes that half of all board members should be ‘independent’ under a tough new definition.

Simon Bartholomew, head of board practice at recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates, said Higgs’ definition of senior independent directors rendered the position very difficult to recruit for.

‘Senior independent director is the job from hell – you are chief whistleblower.

It is an awful lot of responsibility with very little authority and you only can do it on a part-time basis,’ he said.

Big Four firm KPMG said it foresaw recruitment problems and that it was advising companies to look to the ‘marzipan-layer’ of senior management.

The firm is also urging companies to revise succession plans, as execs can no longer walk into the chairman’s position.

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