Knighthoods around the board table

05 Feb, 2019
 
Boardroom

A sizeable number of New Zealand’s listed companies feature dames and knights around the board table, but it’s an honour bestowed on a carefully chosen few.

According to a study by AUT Business School accounting academic, Associate Professor Tom Scott, and fellow researchers Diandian Ma and Michelle Li, just over 17% of NZX-listed companies feature a sir or dame on the board.

But they were more likely to be found on large, cash-positive, high dividend-paying companies, a move potentially aimed at reducing the chance of their reputation being caught up in corporate failure.

"We show that directors with greater and easily visible reputational capital are more likely to supply their services to companies that mitigate risks to their reputation and protect minority shareholder interests," Scott said.

"The threat to knighthoods or damehoods during a corporate scandal is real, as after the collapse of Lombard Finance there was a media outcry to strip the chairman of the board, Sir Douglas Graham of his knighthood," Scott found.

Read more about his research in an interview with stuff.co.nz.