Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Outside Director


An Outside Director is a member of a company’s board of directors who is not an employee or stakeholder in the company. They are often brought in for their specific industry knowledge, expertise, or experience, and typically provide independent oversight and unbiased perspective. Outside directors are crucial to maintaining good corporate governance as they can offer impartial judgments regarding company operations and decisions.


The phonetic transcription of the term “Outside Director” in English would be: /ˈaʊtˌsaɪd dɪˈrɛktər/

Key Takeaways

  1. An Outside Director is a member of the company’s board of directors who does not have a material or pecuniary relationship with the company or related persons, except as a member of the board.
  2. The importance of Outside Directors cannot be understated as they bring independent judgement and external expertise to the board which can enhance corporate governance, minimize risks, and improve the credibility of the company in the eyes of investors.
  3. The role of the Outside Directors extends to various aspects of the company including making sound strategic decisions, monitoring the executive management of the company, and protecting the interests of shareholders.


The term Outside Director is crucial in the context of business and finance as it refers to a member of a company’s board of directors who is not part of the company’s executive team. These individuals bring an essential perspective that differs from those directly involved in day-to-day operations, often providing impartial and independent opinions and judgement on critical business decisions. Their significant role is to ensure transparency and protect shareholders’ interest by meticulously overseeing the executive management team’s actions, such as decision-making processes, financial reporting, and regulatory compliance. Their contribution further bolsters corporate governance, reducing the likelihood of conflict of interest or unethical practices, thereby enhancing the firm’s accountability, credibility, and overall performance in the long run.


An Outside Director plays a crucial role in maintaining a company’s transparency and accountability. As an independent board member not involved in daily operations or management, an Outside Director adds an unbiased perspective to the board, ensuring the company’s interests align with those of the shareholders. Their unbiased oversight can help in avoiding any conflict of interest that may arise when business decisions are made, representing a powerful check against potential mismanagement.Additionally, Outside Directors bring unique expertise, experience, and networks of contacts, that can be beneficial for the company’s strategic planning, thus enabling the company to utilize different knowledge areas or industries. They can enrich board discussions with new insights and ideas, help navigate through complex situations and provide credibility to the company’s operations and financial reporting. Essentially, an Outside Director ensures more effective corporate governance, enhances the company’s reputation and credibility, and improves its overall financial performance.


1. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: Susan Decker serves as an Outside Director on the Board of Directors for Warren Buffet’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. She does not hold a day-to-day operational role within the company. Instead, she uses her experience as former CFO of Yahoo! to give strategic and financial advice. 2. Microsoft Corporation: John W. Stanton is an Outside Director for Microsoft. Stanton is the Chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners, a private equity firm, and has over 30 years of experience in various communication businesses. Although Stanton does not work for Microsoft in a daily operational capacity, his industry expertise guides the company’s decision-making process. 3. Apple Inc: Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, serves as an Outside Director on Apple’s Board. While he is not involved in the company’s day-to-day operations, he contributes with his extensive experience in policy and environmental issues.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Outside Director?

An Outside Director is a member of a company’s board of directors who is not part of the company’s executive management team. They are usually selected from other industries and bring diversity of perspectives to the board.

Why are Outside Directors needed?

Outside Directors are needed to provide independent oversight and constructive criticism to the company’s management. This helps to prevent conflicts of interest and promotes transparency in corporate governance.

What role does an Outside Director play in Board Committees?

An Outside Director often serves on key committees within the board, like the audit committee, compensation committee, and nomination committee. They contribute their expertise and independent perspective in these committee discussions and decisions.

Is it mandatory for companies to appoint Outside Directors?

This largely depends on the corporate laws and stock exchange regulations of the country. For example, in the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) have rules that require listed companies to have a certain number of Outside Directors on their board.

How are Outside Directors selected and appointed?

Outside Directors are usually nominated by the nomination committee of the board, and then elected by the shareholders of the company. The nomination committee considers various factors like the candidate’s industry expertise, leadership skills, and whether they meet the independence criteria.

What are the obligations and responsibilities of Outside Directors?

Outside Directors are responsible for overseeing the company’s management to ensure it acts in the best interests of the shareholders. This includes evaluating the company’s financial performance, strategic direction, legal compliance, and risk management. They are also expected to actively participate in board meetings and contribute to decision-making processes.

Can an Outside Director become an Executive Director?

Yes, an Outside Director could become an Executive Director, but they would lose their independent status. The shift would also need to comply with the company’s bylaws and the relevant regulatory requirements.

Are Outside Directors paid for their services?

Yes, Outside Directors are usually compensated for their services. This can come in the form of directors’ fees, share options, and/or reimbursement of expenses incurred in carrying out their director duties. The amount and form of compensation vary widely.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More