Director Skill Sets

57 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013 Last revised: 23 Apr 2017

See all articles by Renee B. Adams

Renee B. Adams

University of Oxford

Ali C. Akyol

University of Ottawa

Patrick Verwijmeren

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Date Written: March 31, 2017


Directors are not one-dimensional. We characterize their skill sets by exploiting Regulation S-K’s 2009 requirement that U.S. firms must disclose the experience, qualifications, attributes or skills that led the nominating committee to choose an individual as a director. We then examine how skills cluster on and across boards. Factor analysis indicates that the main dimension along which boards vary is in the diversity of skills of their directors. We find that firm performance increases when director skill sets exhibit more commonality.

Keywords: Directors; Qualifications; Expertise; Skills; Board effectiveness; Regulation S-K; Diversity

JEL Classification: G34

Suggested Citation

Adams, Renée B. and Akyol, Ali C. and Verwijmeren, Patrick, Director Skill Sets (March 31, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Renée B. Adams

University of Oxford ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

Ali C. Akyol (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa ( email )

55 Laurier Ave E
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5


Patrick Verwijmeren

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA

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