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Introductory Chairman of the Board Speech

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 18 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Chairman Board Speech Introductory Goals

If you're going into a board meeting as chairman for the first time, you might well be expected to make a speech to introduce yourself and your goals for your chairmanship. It's not compulsory and the habits of the firm may not allow for it. But if the opportunity offers itself it should be taken.

An introductory speech to the board will give you the chance to prepare the other board members for what's to come. It's unlikely that you'll be coming in as a new face; it's much more likely that a new chairman will be someone who has been on the board for some years.

Coming to a Board as a New Face

It does occasionally happen that someone new is brought in to be a chairman of the board though. Sometimes it is considered necessary to get new blood in at the head of a company, someone with previous experience of running similar firms, for example.

If that is the case then there's likely to be someone else on the board responsible for the day-to-day running of the company, a managing director or chief executive. It's important that you reach an agreement as to how the two of you are going to work together before the first board meeting.

Opening Your First Board Meeting

Assuming, as discussed above, that you know the other board members, at least to some extent, there is no need for introductions. Launch straight into setting out your stall for the new era.

  • Declare what you think your role should be
  • Set out your goals for the coming year (or whatever period is appropriate)
  • Identify any procedural changes you'll be making.
Examples: You don’t need any introduction from me so I'll go directly into what I want to achieve in the next financial year. Firstly please note that I'll be asking you to change the location of these meetings, I'd like us to rotate around the different company factories so that we get a better idea of what's going on.

Staking Your Claim

The content of the middle section of the speech will depend on the nature of the company, the make up of the board and the situation the company finds itself in. You should cover all the burning issues but also make sure that you mention every area of responsibility of each board member.

  • Address any current issues
  • Make it clear the you understand any factors outside the company
  • Get at least one point in for each person on the board

Examples: In the current economic climate company performance will suffer but I won't allow that to be an excuse for poor performance from anyone on this board. We have significant challenges to face with logistics because of fuel price rises and recent legislative changes are going to put pressure on the finance departments too.

Finishing Off an Introductory Speech

How you round up an introductory speech will again be dependent on the company culture and current situation. In most cases it would be best to make it clear that you expect top performance from everyone but at the same time make it clear that you are there to support them when necessary.

  • Make plain the behaviour you expect from all board members
  • Avoid clichés but end on a positive note

Examples: We face a tough time ahead but if we all keep a close eye on what's happening and work together we can develop and grow the company. If something happens that's going to have a major impact I want to be the first to hear about it, not the last. Now, let's hear about what's going on around the company. Bill – can you kick off please?

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