Local Bay of Plenty innovation leader Bryan Graham has received a boost to his boardroom ambitions by winning the Institute of Directors (IoD) Bay of Plenty Aspiring Director Award.
Mr Graham is a science leader at Rotorua-based Scion, the Crown research institute charged with driving innovation and growth in forestry. A recognised expert on informatics, he leads teams specialising in computer science, geomatics and complex systems.
"In an age of cyber threats, disruptive technology and digital innovation, firms need to consider the value of skills and capabilities like those we see in Bryan at the board table," said IoD acting chief executive Simon Arcus, who presented the award at an event in Tauranga on Wednesday night.
"We're pleased to be part of Bryan's next steps in realising his potential in governance, and we look forward to working with him over the next year to ensure he gets a good grounding in all aspects of directorship."
IoD Bay of Plenty Branch chair Glenn Snelgrove said the judges were impressed by Mr Graham's communication skills, drive and leadership ability.
"Bryan stood out as a promising future leader who brings fresh thinking and an innovative mindset to the table," said Mr Snelgrove. "Diversity of skill is a crucial component of an effective board, and we're confident that Bryan's expertise will make him an asset to any boardroom."
Judge Dr Bev Edlin said the awards attracted very strong applicants, but Mr Graham had impressed all members of the panel with the way he responded to questions.
"His calm presence and presentation ability illustrated not only his knowledge of the matter opened for discussion, it highlighted his listening skills while reinforcing to the panel how he would add value to any boardroom discussion. The panel believes Graham will be an asset to any board he serves while at the same time becoming a role model for other aspiring directors."
The award is designed to foster upcoming talent in governance through mentoring, practical experience, and formal governance training.
Mr Arcus said the aspiring director programme was part of the IoD's future-focused strategy. "One emerging issue we see in governance is tenure. Capable directors are serving longer and contributing meaningfully after traditional retirement age, but we also have a generation of younger directors urging for increased diversity at the board table."
Mr Arcus said there could also be pressure on director remuneration levels in an era of increased liability and compliance.
"Our members tell us the burden of compliance has grown. Recent data shows the average hours per directorship have risen," he said. "What New Zealand needs is highly skilled, fairly remunerated directors. It's not enough to say there are plenty of directors lining up out there: New Zealand needs a focus on quality not quantity."
Institute of Directors BOP Aspiring Director award winner gets:
* A one-year term on Bay of Plenty board as an observer.
* Mentoring from an experienced director
* $2000 for IoD professional development courses
* A one-year membership of the institute