Non Executive Directors used to be caricatured as cronies of the Chairman (who is also a Non Executive Director) or CEO. Fat cats, freeloading members of the "old boy network", retirees who wanted to have somewhere to go other than the golf club for a decent lunch and a chat. Not an attractive scenario and for various reasons, but not least because of numerous serious corporate scandals where shareholders were left unprotected, the whole can of Non Executive worms has been subject to investigation, reappraisal and some rigorous new rulings. Most people have heard the term Non Executive Director without actually knowing what they are, much less what they can potentially do for a start-ups or growing business. A well chosen Non Executive director can be key to good governance but getting that first Non Executive Director appointment can be tricky.