Executive Search:
Board of Directors

BSG knows finding the right board member is a key component of your organization's health and has the experience to drive your search.

board of directors
Retained Executive Search Services for Boards of Directors

board-search-services.pngAlong with C–level and VP-level focus, BSG's practice area specialties include its board search practice. Clients have come to us with a desire to deepen their board of directors for various purposes, including:

  • Independent outside board directors to balance and complement investor and operating executive board directors
  • Outside board directors with specific track records and expertise in strategy, global expansion, industry domain expertise/credibility, and new customer or product areas
  • Board directors who function as either an executive or non–executive chairman by splitting the CEO and chairman roles to create a CEO mentor
  • Board Directors as CEO–in–waiting to facilitate smooth succession planning as the company grows to the next level
Our Board Search Specialties & Expertise
Latest Searches & Articles
CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING BOARD DIRECTOR COMPENSATION AND SEARCH FIRM FEES Navigating the landscape of Board Director compensation and recruiting fees reveals a wide-ranging spectrum, spanning from 25K to 200K or more. This intricate pricing variance is a product of diverse factors, including business size, ownership type, role specificity, and unique attributes sought in board members. BSG put together a list of criteria utilized when reviewing the possible aspects that are mission-critical in your next board search. Read More


What is one of the biggest motivations for founder-CEOs to move to Chair role at some point during a PE-backed company's value creation/hold period?

The opportunity to spend less time working “in” the business, and more time “on” the business

Read More
The Importance of “Discovery” in Executive Search: Measure twice, cut once The point I always come back to is that to manage a successful search, to find the best executives for positions, real heavy lifting must be done before candidates are interviewed. This part of the search is called “discovery,” and without it, the search can go astray and drag on. Read More

board search services

In the US, the National Association of Corporate Directors is the standard bearer for corporate governance and it has developed a multi-chapter network of regional associations where board directors meet regularly to share best practices and generate collective wisdom.  While often more focused on public company corporate governance than private, NACD has published good thought leadership around various board roles and their differences.  For more on the NACD perspective of the differences between CEO, Chairman, and Lead Director responsibilities, see this article.


One of the growing areas of BSG’s board search practice is that of the Executive Chair board seat.  This position was popularized first in the UK, where the Executive Chair role has become a common position on both private and public boards of growth-oriented companies.  In fact, one of the best descriptions of the Executive Chair role is displayed on the investor relations page of a UK publicly traded technology services company called Micro Focus. In the position description, it outlines key responsibilities of the executive chair role, including the following:

  • Board management--responsibility for managing the rest of the board of non-executive directors.
  • Business strategy
  • Executive team management (CEO reporting into the executive chair role)
  • Investor relations
  • Board meeting leadership
  • All corporate governance related responsibilities
Why is this a role growing in importance in BSG’s practice?
  • A push by corporate governance experts due to Sarbanes Oxley best practices with the goal of splitting the traditional combination of CEO and Chairman across two different people, rather than the prior concentration of power in one executive holding both titles.
  • In privately held, growth equity-backed businesses, these companies need to bring in an executive chair as key tool to help less experienced, often first time CEOs or founder-CEOs, get the mentorship they need to continue to grow in parallel with their companies’ growth. Without this mentor cum executive chair, too often a CEO can get outrun by the increased complexity of running a rapidly growing business. Without an executive chair, often the only option that remains for the board is to replace one CEO with someone from the outside in an effort to topgrade the CEO seat to better match company needs.
What industries in the US have seen significant adoption of the executive chair role?
  • Technology businesses where technical CEOs who carry much of the R&D responsibility in addition to that of the CEO function.
  • Any business that has a founder-CEO and is experiencing, or will likely experience, significant growth and expansion.
  • Biotechnology/drug discovery. Often a scientific founder is naturally also the CEO. But as the company grows, an executive chair is brought in to supplement the founder-CEO due to the increasing complexity of: the business, investor management, strategy and corporate governance.

For a good example of a private equity-backed US business that has instituted a split Chair-CEO role, read Forbes’ coverage of Rita’s, a Philadelphia-headquartered Italian ice manufacturer in the food and beverage industry.  Note that Rita’s has since been purchased by BSG client and private equity firm Argosy Capital.  

Board Director FAQ

What are the differences between a non-executive versus executive chair, or board director?
  • The biggest difference is the amount of time expected be spent on company business by the person in this role. For a non-exec director or chair, most of the time is spent at monthly or quarterly board meetings, and light schedule of calls between board meetings. For an executive chair or executive board director, it is really a part time position that could require a commitment of one to three days a week.
  • Compensation is also different because of the increase in time commitment to the company. For an executive chair or executive director role, there is typically a salary and potentially performance bonus, in addition to a stakeholder role in the company. In contrast, outside non-executive board directors may receive only a small annual honorarium or meetings fees plus an equity stake in the business.

For more on the differences between non-executive versus executive chair, see the Harvard Law piece, “What does a non-executive chairman do anyway?” There are a host of other variants of the board director role that may also be important to consider when either building a board for the first time, re-tooling the board for growth, or preparing a board for an IPO or sale.

  • Outside directors. Often a privately held business and their board is comprised primarily of board directors who are representatives of the equity investors who committed growth capital to the business. Outside directors are a critical component of well-run boards to help bridge varying investor interests with all shareholders, offer external objective perspective on external market forces, broaden business strategy, and respond to company sale overtures or alternatives.
  • Outside lead director. This role is neither as powerful as the chair role nor as much of a time commitment, but is a role that is often established to bring harmony across multiple outside directors or bridge the different perspectives of inside versus outside directors. For more on lead director responsibilities, see the National Association of Corporate Directors’ detailed framework for the role. 

Copy of What are the Differences Between CEO & Chairman

Read More on the Differences between a CEO and a Chairman



Years In Business
BSG has placed top candidates since 1997
Hire External
90.2% of searches result in an external hire
24 years is the average executive search experience in our team. We count 173 years all together
3 in 4
CEOs Still Leading
Of all CEO searches BSG has done within the last 5 years, 3 out of 4 CEOs continue to lead their organizations to new growth milestones
We are driven by a passion to improve the entire search process for PE-backed middle market companies.

“Our most recent search with BSG had a number of complicating and potentially competitive features. Getting alignment from all the key stakeholders was important and doing in a way that each felt heard and thus supportive of the search process was critical.  The BSG team did an excellent job setting expectations and gaining consensus on our executive search.

BSG has a depth of research and pattern matching methodology that really drives to understand not just what the candidate work experience had been, but also what their work style and culture fit parameters are.  The right resume with poor chemistry to the management team is not fit at all. The opposite is true. BSG was able to find candidates who were on paper over qualified for the position, but ended up having such a strong connection and chemistry to the company's industry and its team, that we were able to consider superior candidates for the position.

A number of the candidates that I talked with claimed the one of the special tools BSG uses to introduce the company was particularly influential in taking the next step with BSG on the search. BSG’s tool was a great way to provide candidates a better understanding of who we were and generate interest and excitement in our company.”

Marcia Hooper, Partner, Salt Venture Partners

Our clients

“Trumponomics”—7 minutes of Economic Predictions for 2017

This is the whiteboard animated highlights reel from our annual private equity dinner held each November where we invite noted global economist Dr. Allen Sinai to speak about what lies in store for the year ahead.

This year was unique in that Allen spoke to the group about a week after the surprise 2016 presidential election, and the likely effects of a Trump administration on the economy.


Ready to work with BSG?

We help the best in the business find the best for their business.