The Board CV for CEOs - Word Right Career

The Board CV for CEOs

If you are a CEO positioning yourself for a board seat with the S&P, the Fortune 1000s, and large-cap companies, there are key perspectives you will need to consider for your board CV.

The key difference between a job CV and a board CV is the focus on external outcomes vs operational outcomes. The ultimate answer focuses your impact on the  business, the industry, the marketplace, and potentially the economy.

Here are a handful of topics you need to answer for your Board CV:

  • How have you and your company performed? What challenges have you overcome? Have you led mergers, acquisitions, and integrations? What about large company turnarounds? Innovations?
  • What do board recruiters and board nominating committees consider in a candidate? Rather than discussing your OPEX and CAPEX results for the company in your resume, think about your impact on a larger capacity, including:
  • Big-big picture – how did you impact the market? How did you impact the GDP of your state, your province, or your country?
  • Significant P&L.
  • The ability to critically read and interpret the balance sheet.
  • Regulatory compliance.
  • Crises management – consider September 11, 2001.
  • Areas of expertise, especially emerging issues, including cybersecurity and digital exposure.
  • Scientific knowledge and its subsequent commercialization.
  • Mergers, acquisitions, and integrations.
  • IPOs and your connection to capital markets.
  • Unique capital structures – just how creative are you?

At this level, you will consider your visibility in the industry and marketplace. What conferences have you keynoted? What panels have you served? What is your media exposure? Reaching beyond the operations of your organization to the broader business ecosystem will create a springboard to showcase your board-level achievements.

In their brilliant article, Positioning Yourself for First-Time Board Service, Kim A. Van Der Zon, and Martha Josephson explained,

“You need to think ‘beyond glittering generalities.’ You need to articulate and own your participation in ground-breaking achievements. New product launches, taking your company to market-leading performance in spite of a downturn in the economy, averting a major crisis—these are the results boards are looking for today to direct performance and manage risk.”

And the most-difficult-to-articulate quality of all: Your fit for the role. Your energy. Your tenacity. Your courage. What is the brand that has been consistently visible during your career? Is it your penchant for safety performance? Productivity performance? Quality? Product development? Industry leadership?

Whatever your passion is—let it shine through in your board CV. It needs to be more than a list of accomplishments. The board CV needs to connect your achievements to your appetite for influence and service to the board mandate.

Suggested accomplishment statements for you to customize:

  • Recognized as one of the youngest and most promoted senior executives in an organization of 22,000+ employees worldwide.
  • Right-sized the production footprint of the company to meet the constraints of a contracting economy.
  • Recommended the closure of four facilities and supervised construction of new US$595M+ facility, maximizing newer and more efficient equipment.
  • Transformed the plant from worst to first in performance among 6 international plants.
  • Top operations executive recruited to manage 3 plants in the US, 2 in Mexico and 1 in Canada.
  • Multi-national M&A experience in the United States, Middle East and the UK with P&L to US$12.8B
  • Collaborated with industry stakeholders, including regional management team, executive board, sales team, OSHA, FDA, USDA and international union organizers.
  • Astute financial steward with career-long success as the CEO of diversified portfolios of healthcare organizations.
  • Led successful integrated delivery model subsequently adopted by senior leaders of the UAE healthcare system.
  • Became the Bay Street “poster child” for elder care systems with several bond rating agencies.
  • Drove market share 7.6% in a contracting economy with an estimated value of EBITDA of $5.5M.
  • In the case of a board CV, you will think more broadly than specifically, although numbers and results are still important. Passion is critical and value essential.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein

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