Spencer Stuart Seeks New Board Members for Noble Group

Spencer Stuart Board Members Noble Group

May 4, 2018 – Spencer Stuart has been enlisted by Noble Group in Hong Kong to find new board members including a chairman and four or more independent non-executive directors.

Noble Group said in a statement that it expects Spencer Stuart to recruit “world-class talent to oversee the recovery to the business, provide governance and administer risk management.”

The search for new board member comes at a time when the company is undergoing major restructuring. It recently improved the terms of its controversial $3.4 billion debt restructuring deal and won the support of its biggest shareholder as the commodity trader moves forward to complete the vital transaction, according to Reuters.

Singapore-listed Noble’s debt-for-equity swap has already won the backing of more than 83 percent of the holders of its senior debt but it also needs a majority of its shareholders to approve the restructuring, sources said. “The revised structure granting shareholders 15 percent equity in New Noble has my full support,” company founder Richard Elman said in Noble’s statement on Monday. Mr. Elman resigned from the board last month, citing differences with creditors and the board. Noble said Mr. Elman, who started the company more than 30 years ago and holds nearly 18 percent of its shares, would be appointed as an executive director on the new company’s board.

Noble Group manages a portfolio of global supply chains covering a range of industrial and energy products. The company facilitates the marketing, processing, financing and transportation of essential raw materials. Sourcing bulk commodities from low cost regions such as South America, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia, the Company and broader Group supplies high growth demand markets, particularly in Asia and the Middle East.

Board Recruiting

Spencer Stuart’s board practice has deep knowledge of governance issues and its international network of consultants has conducted more than 1,800 director searches over the last 36 months. More than 30 percent of its director placements last year were women. Its clients include public, private equity-backed, major private and family-owned businesses, as well as start-ups and non-profit organizations.

Last year, Spencer Stuart teamed with NASDAQ and Boardroom Resources to jointly launch Next Gen Board Leaders, an initiative designed to foster a community of current and aspiring directors. The goal is to spark discussion around the challenges, opportunities and contributions of a younger generation in today’s boardrooms.

“Institutional investors have been vocal about board composition,” said Julie Daum, leader of Spencer Stuart’s North American board practice. “They simply want to know that boards have the right skill-sets to guide and oversee today’s companies in their three-, five- and 10-year plan for value creation. Age diversity becomes an inevitable factor, as this younger generation of directors possesses extensive expertise on many of these fast-evolving strategic and governance issues.”

Luring Directors

Director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging, say recruiters who conduct searches in that area. According to Egon Zehnder, heightened expectations now placed on boards have elevated both the professional standards and personal commitment required of all directors.

At the same time, many boards find that the supply of independent-minded “board experienced” directors – especially those who can add vital forms of specialized skills and expertise – is limited. Such candidates are widely sought but can be hesitant to take on the intensive responsibilities now required of board service.

As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help find new board members. Most in demand are women, senior leaders with global experience, ethnically diverse professionals and Millennials.

Here’s a brief look at a small selection of search firms and their recent board work taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:

Diversified Search has recruited Betsy Atkins, Dee Dee Myers and Wendy Webb as members of the board of directors for Wynn Resorts. Wynn Resorts is pleased to welcome Betsy, Dee Dee and Wendy to its board of directors following a thorough search process that included input from shareholders and Diversified Search.

Boyden has placed Joe Guith, Matthew Wadiak and Etienne Patout as members of the board of directors at Goodwill Industries International. “After an exhaustive search, Boyden is enthusiastic about the talent that Joe, Matthew and Etienne bring to the Goodwill team,” said Alicen Blair-Sibly, a managing partner of Boyden in Atlanta. 

Greenwich Harbor Partners has been enlisted by Teach for America – New York to recruit for multiple board positions. The firm recently filled the first board spot with the placement of Deborah Rosado Shaw as a director. The assignment was led by Carrie Pryor and Ted Pryor, managing directors of the Greenwich, CT-based search firm.

Polachi Inc. placed Sam King and Angela Tucci as new members of the board of directors at Progress Software in Bedford, MA. Ms. King is senior vice president, general manager and chief strategy officer of Veracode, the application security business of CA Technologies. Ms. Tucci is CEO of Apto.

Kincannon & Reed placed Roland Wolfram and Elin Miller as new members of the board of directors at Fall Creek Farm & Nursery. Mr. Wolfram previously served as VP and general manager of emerging markets at Nike. Ms. Miller is a veteran agricultural and management executive with more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in the corporate, government and …

Executive search firm Diversified Search has placed Christopher M. Connor as a member of the board of directors at International Paper Company in Memphis. Managing director Lauren E. Smith led the assignment. Mr. Connor retired as executive chairman of the Sherwin-Williams Co. in December.

Korn Ferry assisted Mutual of America Life Insurance Company in adding Dr. Ellen Ochoa to its board of directors. Alan Guarino, vice chairman in the firm’s CEO and board services practice, led the search along with senior client partner Maureen Ryan. Dr. Ochoa is the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Spencer Stuart assisted Fred’s Inc. (Fred’s Pharmacy) in adding Christopher W. Bodine, Peter J. Bocian, and Michael K. Bloom to its board of directors. The directorship placements are part of an ongoing reconstitution process at Fred’s in which the board has been actively engaged, with the assistance of Spencer Stuart.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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