California Bill Requiring Women on Boards May Face Court Battle
Anders Keitz, Bradley Keoun
The Deal article, “California Bill Requiring Women on Boards May Face Court Battle," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Nada Usina on the bill requiring California companies to appoint women to their boards. The article is excerpted below.
California faces a tight deadline in a bid to become the first to require public companies based in the state to appoint female directors, through a bill championed by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson that will likely face a court challenge, opponents say.
The bill, which awaits the governor's signature, would require California-based public companies to have one woman on their board by 2019. The required minimum then increases to two women for five-person boards and three women for boards of six or more directors by 2021. Gov. Jerry Brown, who has yet to indicate his stance on the bill publicly, has until the end of the month to sign the measure into law.
While the legislative approach may not be ideal to some corporations, Nada Usina, a member of the Board and CEO Advisory Group at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, said she would find it surprising if an organization based in California would push back openly.
"It's really exciting to see a market like California, which certainly is a leader in so many aspects like technology, take this step," said Usina.
"The women who are incredibly talented, whether they are digital or technology leaders or CEOs, are continually getting many requests," Usina continued. "The depth of that talent will become a challenge. Partnerships with firms like ours, for example, are going to be critical in landing the best talent."
While companies may partner with an executive search firm to find its next board member, more often, board members explore their network to find a candidate. And, contrary to Usina, some believe there is no shortage of talented female board members.
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