Where Private Equity Firms Find Board Members

Director Discovery is a Professional Relationship Platform® that enables senior advisors and financial sponsors to find and build relationships with each other.

Whether you are an advisor looking for board roles at portfolio companies, or a financial sponsor seeking new and valuable perspectives, Director Discovery is the platform for you.

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What makes PE Boards Different?

The board of directors is crucial in driving value creation and strategic initiatives within a defined investment timeline, typically 3-5 years. These boards are small - 5 to 7 people - and always controlled by the PE firm. Independent directors are often current or former CEOs from similar businesses, who bring relevant insights from their other roles. Independent directors generally receive modest board fees, along with potentially significant equity awards.

PE Board Composition

From the Management Team:
  • CEO of the portfolio company

From the Private Equity Firm:
  • Lead investment partner (often serves as chairman)
  • 2nd investment partner
  • Vice president

Independent Directors:
  • Added to the board due to their industry, operational or other expertise

Expectations of Board Members

  • Bring relevant industry and functional expertise to the table
  • Be available for frequent informal conversations with the CEO and the PE firm
  • Attend formal board meetings or calls, which can be monthly or quarterly
  • Have a broad set of industry contacts
  • Be highly collaborative and engaged, while advocating your own viewpoint on key questions


"The biggest misconception is that you will automatically have credibility once you join the board. You have to earn your stripes and prove your value, not just once, but at every meeting."

— Betsy Atkins, 3x CEO, 38x board member & serial entrepreneur