Questions and answers

What is the Golden Gavel?

The Golden Gavel is an annual award open to chairs of Swedish companies. It is presented for outstanding work in the role.

Who is behind the award?

The Swedish Academy of Directors and Deloitte award the prize, in association with The Fairford Group, Hannes Snellman, Russel Reynolds and SEB. The award’s media partner is the Swedish business daily Dagens Industri.

Why should there be particular focus on company chairs?

The role of chair of the board has become increasingly important. This is not only because the Companies Act and the recently implemented Swedish Code of Corporate Governance places greater responsibility on the chair. The contribution made by the chair is crucial to the success of the work of company boards.

Why is the award so important?

The Golden Gavel helps to highlight and raise awareness about the role of the chair of the board. This is communicated throughout Sweden, as the winner is selected through a nationwide process.

How are winners selected?

Nominations are submitted to the regional offices of the Swedish Academy of Directors. The regional associations then nominate one or more of these candidates for the national award. Written submissions consisting of no more than 2 pages are used as the basis for the jury’s assessment.

Who can nominate candidates?

The nomination process is open to everyone. Candidates can be proposed by members of the board, the managing director, owners or anyone else who knows how the board in question works.

Are all companies eligible for the award – both large and small?

All companies with active boards and which fulfil the criteria are eligible to participate. The award is presented in two classes – chairs of stock exchange listed companies and chairs of private companies. It is hoped that many chairs of small and medium sized companies will be nominated.

Are there any formal requirements?

Yes. The chair must have held the current post for at least three years and the board must consist of no fewer than four directors.

How is the winner selected?

The final choice in both classes is made by a jury. Five or six candidates in each category are presented to the jury, which then produces a shortlist of two or three candidates in each class. The jury then collects more information on the shortlisted candidates before making its final decision.

How are the candidates assessed?

Candidates are assessed according to a fixed set of criteria. The company must have experienced healthy development and/or carried out significant and beneficial changes. The chair must have organised well-functioning board processes and shown leadership and the ability to create a positive working climate.

How do you know the right person has received the Golden Gavel?

The aim is not to select the best company chair. The Golden Gavel is awarded to people who have shown themselves to be good role models. The jury guarantees that worthy and skilled representatives of the chairing community receive the award.

What is the Swedish Academy of Directors?

The Swedish Academy of Directors is a non-profit organisation which acts as a leading forum for the development of the work of boards Swedish companies. It consists of regional branch associations from the whole country, with a total of around 2 300 members. The Academy offers boards and directors competence development and recruitment support. In 2003, the Academy published Guidelines for Good Board Practices.