Foreword

A book on the “digital director” is long overdue. It used to be that directors’ technology skills were either not emphasized or not thought of as important, but now you can’t ignore the issue. Now, the more literate each director (and by each director, I mean every single director) is on digitization, cybersecurity, data privacy, and technological innovation, the more effective the board ultimately is. Boards need to evolve from “bricks-and-mortar” and paper to digitization. This book – which charts an evolution that is just beginning – will be a welcome addition to the arena.

As several of the directors interviewed in this book point out, governance in the digital age is hard work. This is partly due to the lack of knowledge and experience that many directors – who tend to be men in their late 50s, 60s, or early 70s – have about the use of technology, including the definitions, the acronyms, and the application. These are things directors can learn on the job, but boards really need to diversify, namely by recruiting younger information technology-literate directors with diverse digital expertise. Those incoming younger directors won’t necessarily have P&L experience—they will likely not have run major businesses like the other directors have—but they have a skillset that will be so important to the success of the board in the years ahead. Information technology is one of the top competency gaps that I see when I create competency matrices for boards, and it’s also ...

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