Board and Advisory Board Services

Phillip Riley specialises in clean technology board and advisory board appointments and we are the only Australian firm that focuses solely on providing the best board and advisory board candidates from the renewable energy sector. We recognise that an experienced and well informed board is essential, and our concentration on the renewable energy sector has allowed Phillip Riley to build a database of board candidates who possess specific and highly sought after expertise.  This ensures that our clients are always presented exclusively with a group of highly-skilled potential candidates.  With the ever growing emphasis on the importance of renewable energy, Phillip Riley’s proficiency in this sector already has us leading the way with clean technology board and advisory board appointments.

 

Purpose:

A board of directors is a body of individuals elected by shareholders to oversee a company’s actions and decisions.  They do not run the company, rather direct those who do.  The main obligation of a board is to protect the relevant stakeholders’ interests, giving board members great responsibility and also great power. As such, Phillip Riley understands that board members must be in tune with constituents’ desires and expectations, as well as possessing an excellent awareness of the overall industry climate

Aside from overseeing company activity, boards exist to uphold principles of corporate governance, that is, the system by which a company is controlled.  There are general and legal requirements that a company must fulfill, and corporate governance provides the general framework for achieving a company’s general objectives.  This includes the notion of public ownership, which calls for a separation between ownership and management.  As such, all public companies must have a board of directors.  It is highly likely that private companies of considerable size will have a board of directors as this is in their interest, but it is not essential for small private companies.

Both for-profit and not-for-profit board members have equal responsibility to maintain an organisation’s financial prosperity through effective governance, and must oversee the general running of the company.  However, we recognise that there are several differences between for-profit and not-for-profit boards;

  • In not-for-profit organisations, board members are usually volunteers who place a major focus on the mission of the organization.  They generate and utilise revenue differently to for-profit organisations and instead of acting on behalf of share-holders, they act on behalf of the public and the people that they represent.  These boards are often larger than for-profit boards and it is very rare that the Chief Executive Officer serves on the board.
  • In for-profit organisations, board members are usually paid for their services and money generated by the company is kept as a profit and distributed between shareholders.  Often, the Chief Executive Officer serves on the board.

 

Duties:

Individual companies determine different roles for their respective boards.  These are outlined in the company’s corporate bylaws.  Usually, the primary roles of a board (both for-profit and not-for-profit) include:

  • Devising and fulfilling an overall mission and aim for the company.  Company policy is then set in accordance with this mission.
  • Exercising a general oversight function by reviewing the actions of the management team and assessing risk management.
  • Selecting the executive.
  • Ensuring the company has adequate resources and that these resources are managed effectively.
  • Monitoring the products/services of the company.
  • Serving as a place for stakeholders to appeal decisions.
  • Reporting to relevant stakeholders.

 

Structure:

The structure and number of board members will vary for individual companies.  A typical board is made up of:

  • Chair:  The chair is technically the leader of a company and is responsible for running the board.
  • Inside Directors/ Executive Directors:  These are individuals who are also either major shareholders or managers of the company.  They provide specific insight and an internal perspective.
  • Outside Directors/ Non-Executive Directors: These are individuals who have experience in the relevant industry but do not have a vested interest in the company.  This provides unbiased perspectives on issues facing the board.

 

The board oversees the actions of the company’s management team who are in charge of the day to day running of the company.  A typical management team is made up of:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): The CEO directly implements board decisions and is responsible for the overall operation of the company.  Often (in for-profit organisations), the CEO serves on the board as an inside director.
  • Chief Finance Officer (CFO): The CFO is responsible for monitoring the finances of a company; in particular formulating budgets, managing expenditure and maintaining financial performance.
  • Chief Operations Officer (COO): The COO is responsible for the day to day operation of the company.

 

Advisory Boards:

Organisations will often employ advisory boards to provide information on matters the existing Board requires further advice on.  An advisory board is made up of a group of individuals who possess unique skills and knowledge that complement the skills of the existing board of directors.  Advisory boards can help an organisation by making informed recommendations, providing contacts or enhancing an organisation’s reputation through their individual status in the industry.  They cannot, however, make any formal decisions for the company.   Most advisory boards are formed with a specific goal in mind and aim to provide new insight to the existing board members.

Given Phillip Riley’s focus on the renewable energy sector, we provide our clients with access to the best potential advisory board candidates who possess a broad range of expertise right across the sector.

 

What makes for an effective Board?:

Phillip Riley understands that for a board to function smoothly, it is essential that the right candidates be placed in the right roles.  An effective board will comprise of highly skilled individuals with a variety of skills.  A widely skilled board of directors will not only better fulfill their duties, but this is also vital when considering risk management.   Key qualities of a competent board include placing value on teamwork; remembering the importance of the big picture of the company and keeping in mind the interests of both staff and stakeholders.  A successful board will also assess its own performance when assessing the performance of an organisation.