Announces Plans to Publish Resource for Companies to Advance Board Diversity
BOSTON — State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg announced the launch of a new initiative today that her office will use to engage directly with board members, corporate leaders, researchers and advocates, focused on exploring challenging barriers to, and successful strategies for, diversifying corporate boards.
As part of the initiative, “Bringing Diversity on Board,” in May, Goldberg’s office will organize roundtable, working-group discussions focused on various industries – information technology; finance; and health care, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Following the roundtables, the Treasurer’s Office will publish a report designed to help companies implement effective strategies for advancing board diversity.
“In a 21st century global marketplace, maximizing financial success requires improving boardroom diversity,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “We look forward to studying proven strategies around the country and engaging with a wide range of corporate leaders and experts to help them drive tangible progress on this critical business issue.”
Goldberg highlighted that the roundtables will enable an array of stakeholders to engage in robust discussions about not only how to enhance board diversity, but also how diverse governance boards help companies maximize profits, expand business opportunities and best serve the interests of shareholders. The roundtables will explore industry-specific challenges – from health care, to finance, to technology – related to advancing board diversity.
Goldberg, who chairs the board of the state’s $62 billion pension fund, has made shareholder engagement and corporate governance key priorities since taking office in 2015. Under new custom proxy voting guidelines proposed by Goldberg and approved this year, which impact how the pension fund votes as a shareholder in the roughly 9,000 companies it owns stock in, the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board now votes against or withholds from all board nominees if less than 30 percent of the company’s board is diverse in terms of gender and race.
While recognizing the impact of these reforms, Goldberg also noted that voting and enforcement alone cannot change corporate culture and institute the systemic changes needed to accelerate the pace of progress in boardrooms. The roundtables and subsequent report from the Treasurer’s Office will aim to build upon existing work done by government, corporate, academic and non-profit leaders around the country.
Individuals interested in learning more about the initiative should email firstname.lastname@example.org.