Global Director Survey 2018 by the Global Network ...

Global Director Survey 2018 by the Global Network of Directors (GNDI)





The Global Director Survey Report 2018  is available here.

New global research taking the ‘pulse’ of board directors around the world shows that Big Data is high on the global agenda as a top technological disruption to organisations.

The findings from the inaugural Global Director Survey 2018 by the Global Network of Directors (GNDI) representing 130,000 directors were released today.

“This international survey is significant, and the first time the Global Network of Directors has taken the pulse of directors worldwide in this type of survey,” said Jane Valls, Executive Director, GCC Board Directors Institute (GCC BDI).

“We had a massive response to the survey – 2,159 directors from 17 countries participated. More than half (53%) sat on three to four boards which means they have a wide experience and broad insights.  Of directors who responded, 36% were on boards of private companies, 23% were on boards of listed companies, and 22% were directors of not-for-profit organisations. “

Big Data is seen as the top technological disruptor.  “This first Global Director Survey ranked Big Data high on the global agenda as a potential disruptor – 63% of directors from around the world regarded Big Data as the top technological disruption to their organisations” said Jane Valls

The challenges presented by the complexity, volume and variety of Big Data, also present opportunities for more effective use of Big Data to boost performance and mitigate risks. While it is on their radar, many boards are not taking advantage of Big Data to improve organisational effectiveness, create value,  and make better decisions. Only 28% agreed that they used Big Data for decision-making. Big Data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of data that has the potential to be mined for information, including structured data, such as spreadsheets and databases, and unstructured data, such as social media posts, audio, video, emails, PDFs, digital images, and GPS data. There is an opportunity for boards who are not already doing so to evaluate their data governance processes, and identify usable business insights, trends, and correlations, leveraging Big Data for better decisions and strategic objectives. Innovative tools with the ability  to process and analyse Big Data are now more readily available.

Valls said: “Boards have a key leadership and oversight role in data governance. For a board to ask management the right questions and hold management to account, they need to understand and address data privacy and cybersecurity issues as they arise.”

The Global Director Survey found that though 61% of directors had good or excellent understanding of their organisation’s data privacy practices, 37% felt they had limited or no understanding.

Just over half (53%)of directors surveyed believed their boards understood cybersecurity and cyber-risks to their organisations.


Directors are also concerned about the poverty and income inequality facing their countries. 

The survey highlights that directors around the world share similar concerns and challenges as they look to the future for the organisations they govern. Social and economic concerns of poverty and inequality were important for 45% of directors in the survey.

“Taxation, government spending, and cost of health care are also weighing on the minds of directors worldwide as the most pressing social and economic issues for their countries,” said GNDI Chair Angela Cherrington, who is also chief executive of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA).

Within the global picture, regional findings showed poverty and inequality were most concerning for governance communities in Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Taxation was the biggest concern for directors in the Americas. Directors in Europe were most concerned about the cost of healthcare.

Business Confidence

Directors largely feel confident about business “The Global Director Survey 2018 took a snapshot of directors’ business confidence. The survey found 45% of directors were “mostly” or “very confident” about prospects for growth over the coming year. Another 36% were “moderately confident” Private and listed companies were more confident than not-for-profit and government organisations.

Ethnical behavior, health and safety and employee engagement were of particular relevance to directors.

Environmental issues rated lower in the survey, however, Jane Valls, GCC BDI Executive Director expects that over time environmental issues will be more on the board radar.

Wider environmental concerns can impact the sustainability of organisations long-term. The environment, climate change, carbon-related issues and resource management will become more important and part of the conversation for more countries as the Paris Accord and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals get more attention.

This survey helps us to understand the big challenges, opportunities and trends emerging globally for directors working with organisations around the world. Directors have a critical role in society as agents of good governance and as decision makers driving future investment and growth.   The Global Director Survey Report 2018 provides wide-ranging insights into the topics that are top of mind for directors worldwide, including social and economic issues and risks, business confidence, governance practices, technology and data governance.

The Global Director Survey ran over six weeks from mid-May to end of June 2018. It was carried out by the Institute of Directors of New Zealand, on behalf of the Global Network of Directors Institutes (GNDI).

The Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI): GNDI is an international collaboration that shares expertise in directorship and corporate governance. GNDI collectively represents more than 130,000 individual directors and governance professionals. It aims to develop and promote leading practices and programmes that enhance the capability of directors to drive sustainable performance for the benefit of shareholders, the economy and society.

GCC Board Directors Institute is the only Directors Institute in the region to be admitted as a member of the Global network of Director Institute.


About GCC Board Directors Institute:

Launched in 2007, the GCC Board Directors Institute (GCC BDI) is a not-for-profit organization that guides board directors of organizations, from family-owned businesses to listed companies, to acquire the know-how and the tools to reach and sustain effective governance.

GCC BDI was founded by four leading regional corporations – Investcorp, SABIC, Saudi Aramco and Emirates NBD – and it is supported by four advisory firms: Allen & Overy, Heidrick & Struggles, McKinsey & Company and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as regional regulatory authorities: the Emirates Security and Commodities Authority, the Capital Market Authorities of both Saudi Arabia and Oman and the Central Bank of Bahrain.

GCC BDI now works with over 1100 Alumni members who benefit from a network of senior business leaders and a variety of workshops designed for board directors and senior executives. Notably, the Institute hosts an annual Chairman Summit that brings together regional leaders and actors to explore the evolving role and value of Boards as well as appropriate corporate governance standards. The next GCC BDI Chairman Summit will take place on 26 November 2018 in Riyadh.

Today the Institute is globally recognized and the only Directors Institute from the region to be admitted to the Global Network of Directors Institute.

We encourage you to visit the Institute’s website at to learn more and get involved with the GCC BDI.