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Director Diversity and Other Board Matters: A Look at the Data

April 15, 2019

Two new publications by Deloitte and Ernst & Young provide useful data to assist boards in comparing their own composition, views and practices to those of other boards.

In collaboration with the Society for Corporate Governance, Deloitte recently published the 11th edition of its Board Practices Report. The Report is based on a survey of 102 companies across a variety of industries, though skewed heavily towards large and mid-cap companies. The 64-page Report presents a huge amount of data, including granular information about the frequency and length of board meetings, what topics boards discuss and when, and director use of social media. One of the Report’s “key findings” pertains to board diversity: “Ninety-four percent said their boards are looking to increase board diversity. Of these, the majority (61 percent) said their boards are looking to increase gender diversity – far exceeding race and ethnicity (48 percent) and professional skills or experience (43 percent).”

The EY Center for Board Matters recently published a brief report based on its analysis of independent directors newly elected to Fortune 100 boards in 2018. Interested readers will want to delve into the various statistics presented in the report, but Ernst & Young’s basic conclusion is that gradual change is underway: “We observe a continuing shift of attention from the more traditional director candidates (current and former CEOs) to individuals with a wider range of skills, expertise, backgrounds and personal characteristics — diversity across multiple dimensions … Still, the limited opportunities for adding new directors mean that change continues to be gradual.”

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