Calif. Boards Now Need Hundreds of New Directors


Agenda | October 19, 2020

The Agenda article, “Calif. Boards Now Need Hundreds of New Directors,“ quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Rusty O'Kelley on the idea that there is plenty of diverse board candidates, but companies must look beyond those with previous board experience. The article is excerpted below.

A significant swath of boards in California will soon be in the high-volume business of appointing new directors. Now that the state's second board diversity law is official, one third of the 662 public companies in California are on the clock to appoint at least one new diverse board member by the end of next year. That's more than 200 boards that will have to find either a racial minority or a candidate who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT+). Then in two years, another portion of the law will kick in and those numbers will have to double at small boards and triple at large ones.

How will corporate California locate the candidates? Only last June, the CEO of San Francisco–based Wells Fargo — which has three directors of color — told employees in an internal memo that the company lacked diversity in management because of “a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from."

Consultants such as Rusty O'Kelley at search firm Russell Reynolds Associates disagree. “There is an abundance of great diverse talent," says O'Kelley, who co-leads Russell's board and CEO advice unit. “But nominating committees and boards are going to have to invest time and resources in order to find the non-obvious diverse talent who is not already 'boarded up.' It's easy to find directors who already sit on one, two, or three boards. What takes time is finding terrific people for whom this will be their first board."

To read the full article, click here.​​​

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Calif. Boards Now Need Hundreds of New Directors