The Transformation of Corporate Boards Characteristics: A study of New Zealand listed firms 1995 – 2007
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
This research primarily examines the trends of changing characteristics of corporate boards within New Zealand listed firms. Expressing in a quantitative framework, this research provides an insight of how board compositions have changed over the past decade, within which two major corporate governance legislative reforms have occurred. These two reforms are known as the Companies Act in 1993 and the New Zealand Corporate Governance Best Practice Code in 2003.
This study aims to cover a full range of board characteristics mentioned in previous related literatures in order to give a more complete view. Sixteen variables are selected and examined: board size, board independence, multiple directorships, CEO compensation, chair and director fees, CEO duality, gender diversity, staggered board, directors' ownership, director tenure, directors' experience, committee existence, committee independence, CEO involvement on board committees, board and committee Meetings, directors' educational and industrial background.
Within the above variables, board size, board independence and CEO duality receives the most attention from New Zealand investors and regulators. Tendencies of movements regarding these characteristics appear to collaborate with public expectations. Board size has decreased while independence has increased throughout the periods examined. CEO duality phenomenon sharply reduced during the periods after 2003 legislative reform. Committee independence has also grown according to the public recognition, especially for audit committees. CEO involvements on board committees are less than before. Boards within New Zealand listed firms desire more diversification of both gender and backgrounds of directors. These findings fill the gap of the evolution of corporate boards’ characteristics of New Zealand listed firms over the past decade.