Archie Norman, chairman of Marks & Spencer, has said company boards are “made up of old people”, and as a result are not able to keep pace with disruptive, smarter and faster technological advances.
Norman, who is also chairman of Signal AI, an artificial intelligence-powered public relations platform, and special advisor to Lazard Bank, said board diversity is “not just about ethnic background or gender, it is about how we live and how we think”.
Writing for an MBS Intelligence report on ‘boards of the future’, he said: “For all the improvement in boards and the way they work over the years, there is one startling fact, which is that they remain made up of old people.
“More than previously, the vast majority of people have moved on from their executive life, or in some cases never had one. Yet executive life in a digital and tech world is becoming younger, smarter, faster and more diverse.
“With the best will in the world many veterans of great distinction struggle to keep pace with new digital technology and the way it is changing our lives.”
MBS’s report found the average age for a non-executive director in Britain is 60 years old.
He continued: “The new business titans from the tech world are young and different, sometimes startlingly so.
“For established boards the challenge is how to rekindle curiosity, how to see round the corner to the next disruption. Modernising the old warriors has to be part of that. But today’s world needs to be sitting round the table as well.”