Board Matters podcast: "Fast forward" with Giselle McLachlan

By Institute of Directors
18 Aug 2022
read time
17min to listen
Giselle McLachlan CFInstD

“I’m not somebody who sits on a board for nine years, twelve years…I’m not a long term governance person,” says Giselle McLachlan about her governance roles.

“I’m very much - get in, make a difference, make an impact, serve the organisation and then move on.”

Giselle (CFInstD) lives in Central Otago and is the founder of Grounded Governance. She has chaired the Audit Committee for the Institute of Financial Advisors and the Medical Council, and this year she was appointed Chair for the Board of AbacusBio - a respected science and technology firm delivering solutions for clients across the agribusiness world.

“I need a challenge and I usually get that with the board roles I end up with,” she says.

But once she has given everything she’s got to the organisation and feels she’s given enough, Giselle says she knows that it’s time to move on and find the next role.

An example of this is when she was on the board for the Earthquake Commission when they were dealing with the Canterbury earthquakes.

“It was a very taxing role. It was meant to be three years and I did four,” she says.

By the end of her tenure, she knew it was time to go and move on to something else that would feed her energy and refresh her. 

As for directors staying in roles for long periods of time, Giselle says there is no one rule for every director.

“It’s not the case that somebody through nine years has no new ideas…but it is true of some people. It's really a duty of that director to continue asking themselves, ‘Am I continuing to be fresh?”

She says if that refreshing, learning and upskilling isn’t happening then she sees a reason to be concerned because it ties in with succession planning.

“I’ve worked with a lot of organisations…and Chairs,in particular, who are struggling because they are giving too much.” 

Giselle says this scenario becomes an obstacle for succession planning.

Listen to "Fast forward"


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