REDWOOD CITY, CA (September 13, 2016) — Equilar, the leading provider of board intelligence solutions, announced the launch of the Equilar Diversity Network (EDN) at its sold-out Board Leadership Forum today, co-hosted by Nasdaq at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York.
Equilar Diversity Network is the “registry of registries,” connecting candidates from various diversity organizations with boards, and is accessible exclusively through Equilar BoardEdge, a data platform including more than 150,000 public company executive and board member profiles.
“In the past, boards looking for qualified director candidates with diverse backgrounds would have to go to multiple registries and compile significant amounts of data from various sources in order to narrow their searches,” said David Chun, Founder and CEO of Equilar. “With the Equilar Diversity Network, they can start that search with just one click.”
Shareholders, employees and clients are calling for more diversity in corporate boardrooms, and in response, more companies are expressing commitment to diversity on their boards. For example, a new Equilar study found that 61% of S&P 500 companies disclosed that they “consider ethnic or racial diversity” when assessing the board of director candidates in their most recent proxy statements.
However, disclosures of this type are often limited to boilerplate language inclusive of little more than an acknowledgement, and data shows that they have yet to execute on that commitment at a broader level. A much smaller number of S&P 500 companies disclosed the actual composition of their current boards in terms of ethnicity or race—a total of 12.8%, or 64 companies.
“Many boards are committed to increasing diversity, but they cite difficulty in finding qualified candidates,” said S.K. Gupta, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Ascend Pinnacle, an initiative to increase the number of Pan-Asian corporate directors on public and large private company boards. “Equilar Diversity Network removes that barrier and provides a single place for boards to assess and evaluate top candidates with a variety of demographic and experiential backgrounds.”
Female representation on boards has also been slow to increase. While women accounted for 21.3% of S&P 500 board seats according to the latest proxy data, that figure increased just five percentage points in the last five years. Indeed, this lag is due in part to the fact that many believe there are not enough qualified female candidates available. An Equilar analysis of BoardEdge profiles, conducted earlier this year in partnership with The U.S. 30% Club, found evidence to the contrary—approximately four in five females currently serving as public company executives had never served on a board.
“Equilar Diversity Network supports our mission to increase gender diversity in the boardroom, and will help to remove potential barriers that keep board-ready women with various backgrounds and experience from becoming directors,” said Brande Stellings, JD, Vice President, Corporate Board Services, Catalyst, the global expert on accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion.
As of today’s launch, 10 founding partners are involved with the EDN, and more than a dozen other participating organizations are in the pipeline to be added in the coming months.
“Amid growing global competition, many boards are moving beyond the compliance role to emphasizing strategic planning for long-term innovation and growth,” added Steve Odland, President and CEO of the Committee for Economic Development (CED). “More than ever before, boards comprised of broad diversity and thought will help companies to avert tunnel vision and be positioned for success.”
About Equilar Diversity Network and Equilar BoardEdge
The Equilar Diversity Network is the first and only platform combining gender and ethnic diversity board candidate registries, providing boards and their search committees with a single tool to identify and reference potential candidates with these diverse backgrounds.
Equilar Diversity Network folders appear within the “Director Search” function of Equilar BoardEdge, which includes profiles of more than 140,000 public company executives and board members that users can discover by name, age, gender, title, biography, executive and board experience, company name and financial data, and geographic location. The defining feature of BoardEdge is a social network-like connections map that shows how candidates are connected to other directors within the database.
About Equilar Diversity Network Founding Partners
Ascend: The largest, non-profit Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America. Established in 2005, Ascend has grown to serve professionals and corporations across various professions and across multiple industries.
Catalyst: Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion. With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, and more than 800 supporting organizations, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work.
Committee for Economic Development: Founded in 1942, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation’s most critical issues. CED’s report, Every Other One: More Women on Corporate Boards, explains that through voluntary action by companies and visionary leadership, we can improve boardroom diversity. CED outlines a proactive plan for direct outreach to the nominating committees of corporate boards, and includes recommendations for expanding the criteria of qualified female board members.
Directors & Boards (Directors to Watch): Directors & Boards is a quarterly journal dedicated to the topics of leadership and corporate governance. Its readers are at the very pinnacle of business—board chairmen, CEOs and members of senior management, corporate board members, and board advisers.
Stanford Women on Boards: The goal of the Stanford Women on Boards Initiative (SWB) is to increase the representation of Stanford alumnae on corporate boards, increase Stanford women’s readiness for board service; and further develop the capabilities and influence of Stanford women already on boards.
The U.S. 30% Club: The US 30% Club is a group of business leaders who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organizations through voluntary actions. The club launched in 2014 with an aspirational goal of achieving 30% women on S&P 100 boards by the end of 2020.
WCD San Diego Chapter: WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) Foundation is the only global membership organization and community of women corporate directors. In this new era of responsibility, WCD Foundation is committed to not just good governance, but to governance with global vision. The combined market capitalization of the companies on whose boards the WCD Foundation members serve totals almost $8 trillion; if WCD Foundation were a country, its economy would be the world’s third-largest, behind only the U.S. and China.
Wellesley Business Leadership Council: The Business Leadership Council of Wellesley College was formed in 1989, dedicated to excellence in education; to leadership, empowerment and opportunity for all women; to lifelong learning; and to service to the College and to society.
Women2Boards: The mission of Women2Boards is to bring diversity to the boardroom, one talented woman at a time. Women2Boards is the “go to” place for smaller company boards to find talented women candidates who meet their skills and experience specifications.
Women’s YPO Network: YPO today provides more than 25,000 members in more than 130 countries with access to extraordinary educational resources, alliances with leading institutions, and specialized networks designed to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.
Equilar is the #1 provider of executive data, collecting information on more than 140,000 executives and board members from thousands of public companies. Our cloud-based platforms organize executive data into easily digestible formats, delivering compensation benchmarking, corporate governance and shareholder engagement tools with accuracy and integrity. These platforms bring together companies, shareholders and advisors to inform better business decisions and drive exceptional results. Founded in 2000, Equilar is the trusted data provider for 70% of the Fortune 500, and is cited regularly by The New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, Associated Press, CNN Money, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and other leading media outlets.
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