Calls for diversity in senior management

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The talent pool is key to finding new board candidates. If the workforce is not diverse, the pool of candidates remains homogeneous and is not conducive to a diverse board.

The Thirty Percent Coalition (the “Coalition”) has expanded its mission to formally call on companies to increase diversity – including gender, race and ethnicity – in senior management ranks. Leadership is generally defined as a director, vice president, or senior executive role. The new mission statement is:

  • The Thirty Percent Coalition will advocate for diversity on boards and in senior management, promoting women and people of color.

This goal reinforces the Coalition’s founding strategy to increase diversity – including gender, race and ethnicity – on boards.

“The Coalition’s promotion of executive diversity will strengthen its ongoing advocacy to increase director diversity on the board. This refinement of mission will strengthen Coalition members in their successful engagements with businesses to achieve identifiable results,” said Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, Executive Director of the Thirty Percent Coalition.

Coalition members hold over $8 trillion in assets under management and continue to achieve measurable results. To date, her multi-year “Adopt-a-Business” campaign has seen more than 500 public companies appoint a woman to their board, often for the first time. Additionally, many of the Coalition’s private equity members have made significant progress in increasing gender diversity on the boards of their portfolio companies and implementing progressive workplace initiatives.

“The talent pool is key to finding new board candidates. If the workforce is not diverse, the candidate pool remains homogeneous and does not foster a diverse board,” commented Julie Kanak, Chair of the Board of the Thirty Percent Coalition.

As part of its broader mission, the Coalition encourages visible disclosure of EEO-1 data

Private sector employers with more than 100 employees are required to submit workforce demographics (including categories by gender, race and ethnicity) called “EEO-1”.[1] Investors are calling for public disclosure of this information to facilitate dialogue on how to improve company demographics. While diversity in the workplace is important, investors will focus on diversity in senior management as a major impetus for increasing diversity in the boardroom.

“With our work on the demand side of the diversity equation – to inspire companies to increase diversity on their boards and now in senior management – ​​the Coalition remains collaborative. We encourage companies to achieve their best possible performance,” continued Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane. “The Coalition believes that disclosure is important to achieving diversity goals and will continue to encourage companies to provide information about board composition as well as prominently display EEO-1 data. Coalition members realize that many companies are early in the process and that disclosing data is the first step. Investors want to see a willingness in the company to improve.

As Board Diversity Increases, More Work Needs to Be Done This focus on executive diversity does not mean that the goal of increasing board diversity has been achieved. However, while increasing gender and racial diversity on boards is still considered slow, progress is being made. According to a recent article from the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance[2], newly elected directors in 2021 brought greater gender diversity to the board. However, racial and ethnic diversity lagged behind. The total representation of women on Russell 3000 boards has increased from 21.9% in 2020 to 24.4% in 2021.

About the Thirty Percent Coalition

Founded in 2011, the Thirty Percent Coalition, also known as the Coalition for US Board Diversity®, is a pioneer in promoting diversity on boards. Its mission is to champion diversity on boards and in senior management, promoting women and people of color. The Coalition provides a national forum where its members develop strategies to encourage companies to increase diversity in senior management and on boards. Members include public companies, private equity, institutional investors, state treasurers, professional services firms and advocacy groups working together for the first time. In 2022, Coalition members hold over $8 trillion in assets under management. There is no other such organization in the United States

[1] https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo-1-data-collection

[2] https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/

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