And your definition of board diversity is…

by TK Kerstetter, for The Board Blog at Borardmember, January 18, 2010.

One of the areas of focus that was part of the SEC’s recently expanded Governance and Executive Compensation Disclosure Rules that go into effect on February 28, 2010 was the requirement for companies to disclose whether, and how, the nominating and governance committee considers diversity in its board composition. I must admit that while I wasn’t surprised that there was some kind of disclosure related to board composition, I think what we will see in this year’s proxies will be very interesting.

First let me lay some groundwork that the issue of board diversity is not new to us. Last May, Corporate Board Member hosted a Boardroom Diversity Symposium designed to educate diverse (gender and ethnicity) board candidates about what it takes to serve as a corporate director from the perspective of existing board members. In addition, we invited U.S. publicly held companies’ nominating and governance committee chairs to come and network with these diverse candidates in the hope that those who felt there was a shortage of qualified minority or women directors could be able to network among this talent pool. We ended up with an audience of approximately 130 attendees—the majority of whom were candidates and existing diverse board members. We had very few nominating and governance chairs in attendance, even though Corporate Board Member’s annual What Directors Think research conducted jointly with Pricewaterhouse Coopers shows that almost 40% of current board members feel there is a shortage of qualified diverse candidates…(http://www.boardmember.com/blogIndividual.aspx?blogid=473)

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