Last week, Akin Gump issued our Top 10 Topics for Directors in 2014. Number 7 on that list: “Ensure appropriate board composition in light of increasing focus on tenure and diversity.” Guess what was Number 7 on our Top 10 Topics for Directors in 2013? You got it: “Ensure appropriate board composition in light of changing marketplace dynamics and increasing calls for diversity.”
Some things bear repeating: exercise, eat right, get enough sleep. Do things that are good for you. Corporations: put women on your boards! If you have been zoned out, on your iPod all year or otherwise still have not been convinced of the value of doing so, take a look at Sheryl Axelrod’s “Disregard Diversity at Your Financial Peril: Diversity as a Competitive Financial Advantage,” published in MCCA’s (the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s) national magazine, Diversity & the Bar.
Ms. Axelrod’s article presents numerous compelling data points: “Companies with three or more women on the board outperform companies with all-male boards by 60 percent in return on invested capital, 84 percent in return on sales, and 60 percent in return on equity.” Hello? How can nominating and governance committees ignore that data?
Proxy season is about to go into full swing. Make a New Year’s resolution for your public company now before you nominate your next slate. Then tweet all about it.
And not to spook you, but a shout out to ISS and Glass Lewis: are YOU listening? We all know how much power and influence you have… Use it well.