AS UTILITIES FACE A MARKET WITH A PREMIUM brand identification, new board members increasingly have stronger backgrounds in marketing and financial services, according to a recent survey of 50 leading utilities by consulting firm Spencer Stuart.
"What is surprising and a little difficult to explain this year as compared to last year," says Jon Crystal, co-chair of Spencer Stuart's utility practice, "is that none of the new directors come from an airline or telecommunications background (em industries with prior experience in deregulation."
Nearly 30 percent of new outside board directors hailed from either consulting or financial services and investment sectors in 1996, compared with only 12 percent the previous year (see top figure). Twenty-two percent of new members came from energy backgrounds, the largest in the history of the survey. About 18 percent came from not-for-profit backgrounds, compared with 27 percent from that sector the previous year. Twenty-two new outside directors joined utility companies in 1996.