Effective boards are empowering their committees

An essential part of board work is done in its committees. It is critical that chairs understand the types of committees that have been established and whether these committees mirror their importance both now and in future.

  • Not surprisingly in our study, the most established committees are audit (97%), remuneration (79%) and nomination (76%). (Japanese companies notably have a separate audit and supervisory board and do not have an audit committee.)

Typical Board Committee Structures​

Share of types of committee across all companies, in %

Population: 100

  • Nearly 80% of companies have at least 4 committees in place, and more than 40% of companies have 5 to 7 committees.

Distribution number of committees, in # companies

3 or fewer committees

4-5 committees

More than 5

  • A substantial number of companies (48%) have established an ESG​ committee focused on environmental sustainability, CSR, DEI, and organizational health. ​
  • Most boards also have other committees related to the company’s specific industry or challenges (e.g., cybersecurity, health and safety, risk).
  • Some boards have combined committees; for example, a governance committee that houses both nominations and compensation or a finance committee that houses both risk and audit.

"The ESG committee will become increasingly important, especially with climate change providing impetus to a lot more scrutiny in this area." ​

Experienced board member and former CFO

Digital Leads
Amadeu Porto, Joanna Scheffel

Design Team
Aditya Gupta, Arnab Kar, Kamaljit Marwaha, Dapinder Pal Singh Bahl, Ginlian Guite and Richard Khuptong

The authors would like to thank the Chair/Board members who participated in the survey, Egon Zehnder consultants for their internal/external insight and EZ colleagues who contributed to this study: Amit Kumar, Devyanee Kaushal, Johanna Prasch, Luis Fuhrer, Sonika Ganjoo and Svenja Weitzel.