Accountants and business management specialists have tightened their grip on boardroom slots in Kenya amid overall improved diversity in the key decision-making role, a survey has shown.
Most boardrooms are this year dominated by accounting professionals (16 per cent), business management (16 per cent), human resource practitioners (12 per cent), and legal professionals (10 per cent) according to a joint survey by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the Nairobi Securities Exchange and the Kenya Institute of Management.
This marks a shift in composition when compared to 2017 where the majority of boards comprised accounting professionals (14 per cent), business management (13 per cent), legal (12 per cent), and banking (11per cent).
Company board members play a critical governance role in setting corporate management and oversight policies.
The board takes crucial decisions on behalf of shareholders on vital issues such as hiring and firing senior executives, dividend policies, and setting compensation for executive teams.
Board of directors
In addition to these roles, a board of directors helps a firm set its broad goals, support executive duties, and ensure a company is well resourced to meet its targets.
The survey revealed that the average age of board members in Kenya this year is 47.6, which is progress from 55.8 years in 2017--an indication that more youthful people have been included in this vital role.
The study shows improved academic qualification among board members with 51.3 per cent holding bachelor’s degrees this year, up from 48 per cent four years ago. The composition of Master’s degree holders serving on various company boards, however, dipped to 16.6 per cent this year from 35 per cent in 2017.
“In the case of nationality diversity in Kenya, our business-case findings found that non-Kenyan directors constitute only 11 per cent of the representation in the boardroom, which is a massive drop from 20 per cent in 2017,” the survey said.
In terms of ethnic groupings, the study found that Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba, and Meru jointly accounted for 76 per cent of most boardrooms in Kenya.
“Nonetheless, our study established that the boardroom in our country, in terms of religious diversity, is highly constituted by Christians (81 per cent)” the report said.