Posts Tagged 'Board Diversity'

Seeking German Women for Boardrooms as Quotas Near

by Tino Andresen and Birgit Jennen for Bloomberg

Time is running out for Ulrich Lehner, the supervisory board chairman of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG, as lawmakers prepare to enforce female quotas in corporate boardrooms.

The number of women on the board that oversees ThyssenKrupp’s executives is set to rise to four of a total 20 after a shareholder meeting today, short of the 30 percent minimum that will be required. Starting in 2016, more than 100 of the country’s biggest listed companies will be forced to choose women when filling vacant supervisory board seats to reach the threshold. This year, smaller firms must set their own targets and publicize plans to achieve these.

“Good women are a rare commodity” for supervisory boards, Lehner told journalists in Dusseldorf on Jan. 27. “Where will these women come from who are suitable to take up supervisory board positions? They come from the same places as suitable men come from, from occupations that qualify them to supervise companies.” Read more here.

How to Change the Ratio of Women on Boards

By Lydia Dishman for Fast Company

Does gender really matter when you’re in a leadership position?

Not as much as you might think.

A new study from the Pew Research Center found that honesty, intelligence, and decisiveness are believed to be the most essential leadership traits, according to 80% of adults. Both men and women agree. Large swaths of both genders say that innovation and intelligence is in evidence in both men and women. As for honesty, ambition, and decisiveness —there’s no gender distinction there, either.

If that is the case, there’s even less of a reason for the disparity of female board members at public companies in the U.S. According to a new study from nonprofitresearch organization Catalyst, the U.S. has 19.2% of board seats at S&P 500 companies, lagging behind Norway, Finland, France and Sweden, each around 30%.

Statistics like these had Solange Charas, puzzled and frustrated. Before she started her own consulting firm, Charas spent more than 20 years in c-suites and a variety of company boards including heading up human resources at Praetorian Financial Group and EURO RSCG, a national director at Arthur Anderson, a leader of the international compensation team at Towers Perrin, and was a board member of Martha Stewart’s company (pre-IPO). Read more here.

Why having quotas may hurt women in the corporate boardroom

by Catherine Rampell for The Washington Post

Women deserve more seats in the highest corporate echelons. But a mandate is the wrong way to get there.

Germany seems to disagree. After months of debate, the German cabinet last week imposed a quota for women on big companies’ boards. The policy was a response to the fact that women are currently underrepresented in leadership positions: They comprise 46 percent of the labor force but hold just 15 percent of supervisory-board seats at Germany’s 200 biggest companies.

Germany is not the first to implement such a policy; Norway instituted corporate board quotas several years ago. France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands followed suit. There is periodic agitation forimporting such policies to the United States , too. Read more here.

25% of California’s largest companies have all-male boards

by Kimberly Weisul for Fortune

A study identifies 101 large, public companies with no women on their boards.

California likes to think it’s ahead of the curve. But there’s at least one area in which the Golden State, despite the hotbed of innovation that is Silicon Valley, is at least as stodgy as its peers in the rest of the country: the number of women that serve on the boards of directors of its public companies.

A full quarter – 101 — of the 400 largest public companies headquartered in the state currently have no women on their boards of directors, according to a recent study from University of California-Davis and Watermark, a not-for-profit that advocates for women in the workforce. The companies with all male boards of directors include Callaway Golf ELY 2.12% , Monster Beverage MNST 2.08% , Cheesecake Factory, Demand Media DMD 1.43% , and TiVo TIVO 1.28% . Read more here.

Hot Topics 2012 Proxy season: Looking ahead to 2013

Corporate Governance Monthly, Deloitte

Recent governance trends were highlighted in the December 5 Deloitte Dbriefs  webcast titled “2012 Proxy Season Observations: Looking Ahead to the 2013 Season.”  The session was hosted by Donna Epps, a partner at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP.

Participants heard insights from Francis Byrd, principal of Byrd Governance; Darla Stuckey, senior vice president of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals; and Maureen Errity of Deloitte LLP, director of Deloitte’s Center for Corporate Governance. They addressed a number of developments in corporate governance, including shareholder proposals related to proxy access, board composition and diversity, board classification, leadership structure, and others. The type and number of shareholder proposals have been relatively consistent year over year (369 proposals voted on in 2011 compared to 366 in 2012).

Although many proposals voted on do not pass, there was been a slight increase in the number of proposals that have passed in the governance board/voting structure area (54 in 2011 and 72 in 2012) This year, there has also been a lot of attention this year on lobbying and political contributions, perhaps due to the recent national elections. The panelists agreed that looking ahead to 2013, there are likely to be about the same, if not fewer, proxy proposals submitted, with a potential increase in proxy access proposals…Continue reading

Women in Business: Still lonely at the top

by The Economist, July 21st, 2011.´

Several governments are threatening to impose quotas for women in the boardroom. This is a bad idea.

In François Ozon’s latest film, “Potiche”, Catherine Deneuve (pictured) plays a trophy wife, a potiche, who spends her days jogging in a scarlet jumpsuit, making breakfast for her cantankerous husband and writing poetry perched on a sofa. But then her husband, the boss of an umbrella factory, is taken hostage by striking workers. Ms Deneuve takes over the factory and charms the workers into returning to work. She jazzes up the products and generally proves that anything a man can do, a woman can do better.

The film was set in 1977, when the only women in a typical Western boardroom were serving the coffee. Times have changed. These days no one doubts that women can run companies: think of Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo, Carol Bartz at Yahoo! or Ursula Burns at Xerox. Sheryl Sandberg, the number two at Facebook, is more widely applauded than her young male boss, Mark Zuckerberg (see article).

Yet the number of female bosses of large firms remains stubbornly small. Not a single one on France’s CAC 40 share index or on Germany’s DAX index is run by a woman. In America, only 15 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies are women. Britain does better, but not much: five of the FTSE-100 firms have female bosses. (continue reading… )

Boards in a Time of Crisis

by Lucy Marcus for Marcus Ventures, July 7th, 2011.

What role does the board play in times when a company is involved in a crisis that has an impact on the community?

I don’t mean “brand management” or “reputation management”. I mean cases like the one we are seeing now with the News of the World hacking scandal in the UK, or last year with the BP oil spill, where real people are harmed and whole communities are affected.

As independent directors on the boards of companies our job is to help the companies navigate and be successful. Part of that is calling the company to task if something it is doing is harming the long term stability of the company, and, I would argue, is beyond ethically acceptable business practice. We should not simply be automatons with only dollar, pound, euro or yen signs. If an organization is caught up in a spiral of bad or unethical behaviour we as directors need to be people who step up and challenge the manner in which a company is doing business.

I realize that News International’s board is perhaps not the best demonstration of good corporate governance, with so many inside executive directors in the balance, not a lot of diversity (there is only one woman), and the independent directors including amongst their ranks an opera singer and Marc Hurd formerly of HP. I would ask the board of News International, and particularly the independent members: what are you doing about the News of the World hacking scandal? I’d genuinely like to know. (continue reading… )

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