A company director with a responsibility to bring independent advice and input to the management board of an enterprise. Not part of everyday business decision making - therefore 'non-executive'. Recent worldwide developments however place an increasing onus upon Non-Executive Directors to take more responsibility for decisions taken by their executive Boards.
What was once an easy job with little responsibility - that appeared to generate lots of income for very little effort. Suited to very experienced former executives who provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to young 'bucks' who don't know any better. Not so now - recent scandals at Enron, Qwest, Worldcom (Parts 1, 2, and 3) have placed the same levels of accountability on Non-Executives as Executives. In the USA, this now includes the new 'Go To Jail' card.