Corporate reputation and Covid-19: The role of the non-executive director

October 20, 2020 • 2 minute read

This report provides a snapshot of boardroom decision-making at the height of the crisis, reputation risk as a key focus and the role of NEDs

“The question now is whether Covid-19 could prove to be a tipping point in terms of how corporate reputation is viewed and prioritised in the boardroom.”

In the summer of 2020, Infinite Global and the Non-Executive Directors’ Association (‘NEDA’) launched a new research initiative to obtain the opinions and experiences of Non-
Executive Directors (‘NEDs’) regarding the impact of Covid-19 on corporate reputation.

This survey followed the Infinite Global and NEDA 2019 report, The Independent Voice, Corporate Reputation and the Role of the Non-Executive Director, and served as a follow-up to the first Roundtable discussion in 2019 which explored the role NEDs have to play in corporate reputation management.


With responses gathered from current or aspiring NEDs this survey provides a snapshot of boardroom decision-making at the height of the crisis, the centrality of reputation risk as a key focus, and the changing role of NEDs in advising on corporate reputation issues. Key findings include:

  • Reputation at the top of the agenda – Seven in ten NEDs (69%) said that reputational risk is now the most or one of the most important factors affecting board-level
  • Rising expectations on NEDs – Two-thirds (66%) said they have been consulted more and contributed more to board discussions on reputational issues during the pandemic so far
  • Communications at the core – According to nearly three-quarters (71%), communications have been a critical part of how their organisation has responded to Covid-19 with 88% saying that communications have increased during the Covid-19 response
  • Seizing the opportunity – Most NEDs retain a positive outlook on the future and the vast majority (87%) believe that organisational opportunities will emerge out of the near to midterm Covid-19 disruption

“NEDs are playing a more important role than ever before in shaping the communications agenda and doubling down on reputation risk management in the boardroom.”

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