One element of the recent reforms of higher education sectors across Europe is the formation of new governance structures in universities. Supervisory boards are part of these reform processes. However, despite the importance of these boards, surprisingly little is known about their actual work. This article discusses the situation of boards in three European countries: the Netherlands, Austria and the UK. It compares the boards’ constitutions with respect to composition, independence, accountability and transparency. Several problems and dilemmas come to the fore. The article concludes by indicating potential areas for improvement in the current board structure and working practice.