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Pre appointment due diligence – by Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh

The excitement of being offered a new post on the board of directors is fairly self-evident for the ambitious manager.

It may involve the obligatory new car, salary, and other benefit increases, along with the prestige of a nice flashy title.

In a tough economic environment, to take a step back and ask ‘’should I take this role?’’ is possibly not on your must do list.

But becoming a board director has various ramifications that must be properly considered, if you want to both survive and thrive.

Below, are some suggested questions for you to consider. Some will be more or less relevant, depending upon whether this is on internal or external promotion, but they do offer a good start point.

The relative importance of these and the responses will need your own personal and commercial review.

Have you seen  and are you comfortable with;

  • The up-to-date management accounts
  • The business plan and forecast
  • The cash flow forecast
  • The bank facilities and covenant management
  • Direction and officers liability insurance
  • Outstanding and  pending/possible litigation
  • The auditors management letter
  • The health and safety policies
  • Any key policies and their implementation in:
    • CR
    • Risk
    • Customer care
    • Employee diversity
  • Are board committee properly established
  • Last 12 months board minuets
  • Financial accounts for the last three years
  • Site visits as relevant
  • Key staff meetings and CV review
  • Fellow board member meetings and CV review
  • First 100 day agreed plan and objectives
    • Insurance claims record
    • Customer lists to check for dependency



Personally consider:

Do you have any conflicts, or do your associated people, i.e. the other half or children.

Do you understand the difference between the role of the director and that of a manager? If not, have you discussed director development?

What is the succession plan for the board?

Have you taken the temperature of the board dynamics?

Finally, are you ready to accept the substantial personal risks attached to being a director?


For more information about the role of the director, contact:

Jo Haigh


Tel: 01924 376 784


Jo Haigh is a partner in fds Corporate Finance Services, with bases in London, Birmingham and Yorkshire, and a partner in the fdsGroup, a specialist training and development business.

An experienced dealmaker, Jo specialises in putting together the right deal at the right time and in the right format for growing businesses throughout the country. She has bought and sold over 300 companies in the last 20 years specialising in owner managed companies.

She is a regular presenter for the Institute of Directors on corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions. More >>

As part of the Academy for Chief Executives Community, professional speakers such as Jo provide excellent, practical and, in many cases, hard-hitting topics for MDs and CEOs. They know that by inspiring the leader of a business to change their thinking and to help them formulate an individual plan for the future, leaders develop themselves and grow their companies. Find out more on

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