Optimal staffing of supervisory and advisory board positions

Board Members

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Board Members

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The increasing professionalisation and specialisation among management roles also extends to supervisory bodies. When recruiting supervisory board members, mid-sized and large companies have begun to focus increasingly on qualifications and competence rather than personal knowledge or reputation. This approach strengthens the key functions of these committees as a supervisory body and strategic partner. At the same time, it also secures both national and international competitive advantages.

Safeguard strategic benefits and financial success

Supervisory and advisory boards play more than simply a symbolic role. Properly staffed, they become valuable strategic partners capable of examining issues with a critical eye thanks to their independence. At the same time, they can also sound advice because they take a longer term perspective when considering entrepreneurial decisions.

The quality standards have become increasingly demanding and companies now are competing for the cleverest minds. These are rare and difficult to find, particularly because these positions need to be staffed independently of the company management’s own personal network in order to ensure the necessary independence.

The issue of how to best evaluate the necessary competence makes the search for suitable candidates even more difficult. Judging the extent to which these candidates identify with the company’s values present a similar problem.

Hand-picked top candidates for your advisory and supervisory board positions

Whereas advisory boards represent a voluntary body, many companies such as stock companies, mid-sized family companies, financial investors and family offices are required to appoint supervisory boards. Nevertheless, both committees have comparable tasks and share the same requirements regarding the competence of their members.

division one specifically searches for and recruits qualified and experienced candidates for your advisory or supervisory board. We carry out an in-depth assessment of your requirements and create a detailed requirement profile which then serves as the foundation for the subsequent search. In the process, we utilise both our international network of experts and our deep5S® workflow-based process to identify suitable candidates.

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deep5S®: recruit and retain top managers

Measuring the success of a supervisory or advisory board is difficult. Baden-Württemberg’s former Prime Minister, Günther H. Oettinger, expressed the issue during an interview with division one as follows: “The supervisory board cannot be summed up in numbers.” That is why it is so challenging to define and identify suitable candidates and to maintain their loyalty to your organisation over the long term.

division one has the optimum tool specifically for this task: deep5S® (division one Evidenced Executive Search Process) enables a structured approach in order to successfully and rapidly meet this challenge within a short period of time.


Further information about deep5S®


one.visionary.board is our platform providing you high-quality information regarding supervisory and advisory boards. The platform features interviews, discussions, Q&A sessions along with supplementary material. Enjoy the benefits of our member’s area and secure your free access to all past and future one.visionary.board content. With this includes the following exciting interviews:

  • with Günther H. Oettinger, former Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg and EU Commissioner discussing “How important is a supervisory board/advisory board for a company?”
  • with Daniela Weber-Rey, corporate lawyer, supervisory and administrative board member discussing “Corporate governance changes and in the future”
  • with Gabriele Sons, member of non-executive and executive boards, responsible for human resources discussing “Greater human resources expertise on supervisory boards – modern HR tools also for supervisory boards?”
  • with Walter Döring, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs for  Baden-Württemberg discussing “advisory boards at family-run companies”
  • with Christine Wolff, management consultant from Hamburg discussing “Ways to join supervisory boards”

The interviews are each approximately one hour long and are held every month. We hope you enjoy the interviews and wish you many excellent insights!


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The expert partner for staffing your supervisory bodies

division one combines the placement expertise gained from decades in the executive search and board members sectors and also provides you with two top level consultants: CEO Björn Knothe and Director Nicolaus von Heyden-Linden. In addition, both are supervisory board-certified by Beirat-BW. They support successful mid-sized and large scale operations from the high-end mid-market as well as DAX enterprises.

Björn Knothe

As the CEO of division one, Björn Knothe has more than 20 years of experience in the human resources consulting business. During this time he has developed outstanding expertise in recruiting specialists and managers together with an extensive national and global network of experts, ensuring decisive competitive advantage when searching for your candidates. At divison one, Mr Knothe immediately launched the Board Members and Non-Executive Directors division after founding the company and has been responsible for this division since then with outstanding success.

Nicolaus von Heyden-Linden

Nicolaus von Heyden-Linden is the expert for staffing supervisory boards and advisory boards. Focusing on family-owned companies and high-end mid-sized companies, he has successfully demonstrated his placement expertise for more than 12 years. Furthermore, he is also responsible for numerous formats such as the one.visionary.board (OVB) or the “NACHGEFRAGT” interview series covering advisory boards with Rudolf X. Ruter. With the series, Mr von Heyden-Linden is shaping the face of the professional discourse in his field both in Germany and beyond its borders.

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