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Corporate Reputation and Covid-19: The Role of the Non-Executive Director

“The question now is whether Covid-19 could prove to be a tipping point in terms of how corporate reputation is viewed and prioritised in the boardroom.”

In the summer of 2020, the Non-Executive Directors’ Association (‘NEDA’) and Infinite Global, launched a new research initiative to obtain the opinions and experiences of Non-Executive Directors (‘NEDs’) regarding the impact of Covid-19 on corporate reputation.

This survey followed the Infinite Global and NEDA 2019 report, ‘The Independent Voice, Corporate Reputation and the Role of the Non-Executive Director’, and served as a follow-up to the first Roundtable discussion in 2019 which explored the role NEDs have to play in corporate reputation management.

Key Findings

With responses gathered from current or aspiring NEDs this survey provides a snapshot of boardroom decision-making at the height of the crisis, the centrality of reputation risk as a key focus, and the changing role of NEDs in advising on corporate reputation issues. Key findings include:

  • Reputation at the top of the agenda – Seven in ten NEDs (69%) said that reputational risk is now the most or one of the most important factors affecting board-level decision-making
  • Rising expectations on NEDs – Two-thirds (66%) said they have been consulted more and contributed more to board discussions on reputational issues during the pandemic so far
  • Communications at the core – According to nearly three-quarters (71%), communications have been a critical part of how their organisation has responded to Covid-19 with 88% saying that communications have increased during the Covid-19 response
  • Seizing the opportunity – Most NEDs retain a positive outlook on the future and the vast majority (87%) believe that organisational opportunities will emerge out of the near to midterm Covid-19 disruption

“NEDs are playing a more important role than ever before in shaping the communications agenda and doubling down on reputation risk management in the boardroom.”

To obtain a copy of the full report click on the ‘Download’ button above.

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