Boardroom Superheroes Can Carry Weight of the World – But Should They?

Those holding multiple seats on company boards are often called the supermen and women of the business world. But given the dizzyingly long CVs boasted by some, questions arise as to whether these “superheroes” are more like villains when it comes to effective corporate governance. The UAE’s new 2015 commercial companies law says that individuals should not hold more than five board positions, two chairmanships or one managing director role. Yet there is evidence that some UAE business people have far exceeded these limits, with some holding down a dozen or more positions. Andrew Kakabadse, the professor of governance and leadership at Henley Business School in the UK, says some individuals in the UAE have held up to 29 positions concurrently, citing his own research. Prof Kakabadse says that the maximum number of non-executive board seats held by one individual should be three to four, or two chairmanships.

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