HomePublicationsThe Changing Role of Supervisory Board Chairman: The Case of the Netherlands (1997-2007)

The Changing Role of Supervisory Board Chairman: The Case of the Netherlands (1997-2007)

Bezemer, P., Peij, S., Maassen, G.F. and Van Halder, H. (2009), The Changing Role of Supervisory Board Chairman: The Case of the Netherlands (1997-2007). Paper presented at the European Academy of Management, Liverpool, May 2009.

Over the last ten years, the corporate governance context in most Western countries has changed as a result of irregularities, increased regulation, heightened societal expectations and shareholder activism.

This paper examines the impact of the changing context on the role of chairmen of supervisory boards in  the Netherlands. Based on a combination of thirty semi-structured interviews with board members of leading Dutch corporations and secondary data on the position of supervisory board chairmen at the top-100 listed firms in the Netherlands, our study reveals that board chairmen have become increasingly involved in both their control role and service role.

While the demographics of chairmen have hardly changed over the last ten years, our data shows that chairmen are spending considerably more time on boards and committees, have actively reduced their number of board interlocks and have become more active on the forefront of the corporate governance discussion. The paper highlights several implications for both scholars and practitioners.

Key words: board of directors, supervisory board chairman, board roles, corporate governance developments, the Netherlands.

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Maassen, G.F. (2002). An International Comparison of Corporate Governance Models. A Study on the Formal Independence and Convergence of One-Tier and Two-Tier Corporate Boards of Directors in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Maassen, G.F. (2002). An International Comparison of Corporate Governance Models. A Study on the Formal Independence and Convergence of One-Tier and Two-Tier Corporate Boards of Directors in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Spencer Stuart Executive Search.