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Most directors think a who-you-know culture remains for getting on a company's board

As many as 19% believe this it is mainly the case in State-owned companies.

Image: boardroom via Shutterstock

THE MAJORITY OF directors believe a culture of ‘who you know’ still exists in Ireland for appointments to company boards, a new survey.

The Institute of Directors in Ireland surveyed a number of its members on various aspects of governance.

While 70% believe this culture still exists, 19% believe it is the mainly the case in State-owned companies.

Minister Leo Varadkar said earlier this year that he doesn’t think it’s a negative thing for State board appointees to have political connections.

“It would be demonstrably wrong to appoint someone whose sole qualification is a party or personal connection,” he said, “But where the person is qualified and can make a good contribution, their political or personal connections should not bar them.”

The survey also revealed a split between men and women on the topic of gender equality on boards.

Over a quarter of men believed it had improved, with 48% reporting that it had marginally improved. This second figure was much higher among women as two-thirds believed it had only improved slightly.

Other findings include:

  • 97% were positive about the outlook for the Irish economy next year.
  • 69% plan to hire more employees next year
  • 81% believe the standards of corporate governance in Ireland have improved
  • 71% believe directors have learned from past governance mistakes
  • 55% believe the financial services sector has particularly strong regulation
  • 61% believe boardrooms lack diversity.

Read: One in three directors in Ireland is female – report >

More: Limerick City of Culture gets new director >

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Nicky Ryan

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