Enlightened Chairs of FTSE 150 boards

Rita Goyal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Chairs’ discretion in composing and running effective boards is increasingly being recognised. The Chair’s role is considered critical in board effectiveness. Although the UK Governance Code and academic literature define the role of Chairs elaborately, what it takes to lead the most effective boards is seldom explored. This paper, based on 46 elite interviews with board members (Chairs, CEOs, CFOs, NEDs,) and Company Secretaries of FTSE 150 companies, argues that effective Chairs display several characteristics of ‘an enlightened leader’. Combining theoretical concepts of discretionary authority and enlightened leadership this article explains that effective Chairs of FTSE companies exercise influence with knowledge and experience, listen to diverse views in boardrooms, resolve conflict promptly and decisively, and have a value-focused vision. Opening the black box of top FTSE boards further, this article presents first-hand views of the corporate elite in the UK to substantiate and validate the findings of the study. Contribution to literature, theory, and praxis are discussed in the article.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventEuropean Academy of Management Conference 2020 - Dublin, Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 4 Dec 20206 Dec 2020
Conference number: 20


ConferenceEuropean Academy of Management Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleEURAM 2020
Internet address


  • Discretionary leadership, Enlightened leadership, Effective leadership, Board Chairs, FTSE 150 boards


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