Most execs not concerned at lack of Women on Boards. Survey reveals that only 42% of executives are concerned about the number of women on boards and in senior management positions at leading Canadian corporations. Almost 2/3 are satisfied with the number of women in their own executive ranks, and 50%+ are satisfied with the number of women on their company’s board. That’s the case even though 60% of the executives who responded said their firms have NO female directors at all, and the average proportion of women around the boardroom tables is just 9%. Executives say the reason for this scarcity is the “dearth of qualified women”, not any discrimination against them.
66% of technology boards have at least 1 female director, compared to 60% in the 2012 index.
Companies that fail to have at least three female directors after a transition period – which Ontario Pension Fund suggests setting at 2020 – should be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange. A bold proposal to create change.
17.3% of FTSE 100 directors are women, up from 10.5% just three years ago. That’s because 3 years ago, a UK politician met with dozens of FTSE 100 CEOs and asked them to aim for at least 25% female representation on boards by 2015 — and disclose progress along the way. The results so far are impressive, suggesting that sunlight (and a nudge from a powerful politician) may be the best solution to a persistent problem.
Carl Icahn used a Wall Street Journal editorial to blast the corporate governance system in American business. Icahn cited Dell as a prime example of what he sees as a “dysfunctional” system. He charged that the PC maker’s board lacked strategic foresight, didn’t do the necessary things to fuel innovation, and thus sat idly by as billions of dollars in market value were lost. All this while CEO Michael Dell was at the helm. Dell directors then froze out shareholders and voted to allow the CEO to buy the company “at a bargain price using shareholders’ own cash.” He further wrote: “In the Middle Ages, feudal lords asserted the ‘divine right’ of royalty to justify their lordly positions while plundering the peasants. Today’s boards act like they are vested with similar powers: the divine right of boards!” This issue is an issue not limited to DELL.
Despite rhetoric supporting the advancement of women on corporate boards, the evidence of any progress in the last decade is meager (outside countries with mandated gender quotas). Archival board data (~ 5000 U.S. publicly traded firms) from the past decade (2002-2011) shows that THE biggest predictor of whether or not a female is appointed to a corporate board is if a woman just left that board.
This “gender matching heuristic” was replicated in follow up lab studies, which also showed that although respondents are selecting candidates based on gender matching, they deny using gender as an important factor.
We suggest this gender matching is a subconscious heuristic process stemming from the more general status-quo bias.
Executive pay for CEOs increased by 5.5% in last 1 year.
U.S. companies shun term limits for it directors. WSJ reports of 493 S&P 500 firms, only 16 specified term limits for their board members — a 36% decrease from 25 companies in 2009, the 1st year the firm tracked term limits.
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