There are a number of reasons why coops will want to ensure that directors represent the diversity of the community they serve as well as the skills necessary to oversee a large complex businesses. In the highly regulated financial sector, regulators regularly remind credit unions about the need to include directors with financial and risk expertise on the Board. This can be challenging when directors must win an election to gain a seat. At Vancity, we elect three directors in rotation every year and endorse five candidates to give the membership some choice. Candidates who are not endorsed may also run but to date none have been successful without being endorsed by the Nominations and Election Committee (NEC). The NEC consists of two directors and four or five members at large.
Each year, the Governance Committee does a gap analysis and identifies the skills the Board is seeking. The NEC then keeps the gaps in mind when interviewing each candidate. But first of all the values of the endorsed candidates must align with the credit union. We’ve had a bit of success, electing a CA and digital expert but still seek the elusive director with complex business and risk experience. We’ve begun some discussion about whether we should seek a change to our rules to allow the Board to appoint directors with specific desired skills. What do other coops think of that?