Rethinking Board of Directors Composition

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Interview of Eduard von Kymmel Managing Director & founder id Linked, by Stephane Pesch, CEO of LPEA

As featured in LPEA Insight/ Out magazine #20, December 2021.

LPEA talked with Eduard von Kymmel Managing Director & founder id Linked, about his new digital independent director search platform id Ship, which breaks away from traditional Board of Directors (BoDs) appointment processes, by fostering diversity.

Stephane Pesch (SP): Eduard, what exactly is “id Ship”?

Eduard von Kymmel (EvK): id Ship is an independent, digital match-making search platform that connects interested independent directors (ID), interim managers and RCs, with companies from the financial sector, efficiently and easily. Our platform is technically up to date, the application self-explanatory and conceivably simple.

SP: How did the idea for id Ship come about?

EvK: Various governance studies, our own analyses and my experience as an independent director have shown me that there is an enormous need for improvement in the field of corporate governance of companies and funds, in particular the composition of BoDs. Looking closer at various existing BoDs, we often find an extremely homogeneous composition. The majority of board members are usually recruited from their own (limited) network, and thus often have the same age, the same attitude, come from the same industry or even group of companies. However, these similarities cannot be purposeful with regard to open-minded and sustainable corporate management. Diversity and heterogeneity enable a varied and open approach. id Ship was born from the idea of creating a novel and truly independent ID search platform in order to improve the selection process. Our goal is to bring more diversity to the BoDs in order to strengthen corporate governance and thus to make an active ESG contribution.

Our goal is to bring more diversity to the BoDs in order to strengthen corporate governance and thus to make an active ESG contribution.

SP: Who can benefit from your service?

EvK: Interested independent directors, interim managers and RCs can register with our platform so that searching companies can get in touch with them. On request, the data can be displayed anonymously.

On the other hand, id Ship helps searching companies to increase the number of suitable candidates. And, our platform supports companies in improving their corporate governance through a sophisticated selection process and succession planning. Moreover, companies can expand their range of services as service providers, consultants or law firms by providing their customers with free SICAV search vouchers for the use of our platform.

SP: Do you see id Ship as a competitor to the existing Director Offices in Luxembourg?

EvK: Not at all. We see ourselves as an independent addition to the established office communities or existing director offices. Our goal is to bundle all the talent in the market through a digital pool in order to create better corporate governance. In fact, we are pleased that many of these professional and qualified independent directors are already id Ship members and that some companies are using both options: in addition to their own pool, they also offer id Ship to their clients.

SP: What is the advantage of digital networking? Does it really beat its analog face to face counterpart?

EvK: Analog F2F recruitment often results in a fairly homogeneous group, which can also include conflicts of interest. This is not meant as an accusation, but simply describes the natural process of analog networking. And even if there is a desire to break out of the same group of people, there is often no opportunity to it. id Ship helps to break this cycle and brings a breath of fresh air into the recruitment of board members. Our members maintain a balanced mix of gender, age, gender, ethnicity, personality, background, objectives, independence, attitude, knowledge, skills, sector and experience, paving the way to a diverse, open-minded BoDs.

SP: How does id Linked meet their own core values innovation, sustainability and transparency?

EvK: id Linked is committed to society, the environment and future generations to actively live sustainability every day. Be it as a paperless office as far as possible or with our sustainably produced promotional materials. Moreover, we also sponsor Fairventures, a non-profit company that promotes the reforestation of forests and have strict CO2 limits on any company vehicles.
The pursuit of innovation is reflected not only in our state-of-the-art digital platform, but also in mindset. Continuous development, openness to new ideas, courage to leave the familiar characterize and drive us. Transparency is an important pillar for this and forms the foundation for successful interaction. Open, clear and honest communication is extremely important to us.

SP: What are your take-aways based on the first months of activity of id Ship?

EvK: Since the official launch of id Ship in July 2021, more than 140 highly qualified offering members have already registered with our platform. Furthermore, we have already been able to successfully support many companies looking for various mandates. We are very pleased with the high level of acceptance of our platform, as it shows that we are not alone in our desire for improved corporate governance.

More Information:
www.idlinked.eu

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