NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Announced at the WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) Global Institute this spring, the WCD Global Nominating Commission has launched a series of initiatives – beginning this fall and to be rolled out in 2013 – designed to improve board diversity worldwide. Co-chaired by Myra Hart, Ann Korologos, and Maggie Wilderotter, the Commission is a high-level task force of top board nominating chairs and committee members, as well as CEOs, dedicated to actively building diverse boards and candidate slates. In the first six months, the group has grown rapidly, with 40 members representing six continents.
Along with debuting new board education seminars in early 2013 – first in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., and then moving on to other cities – the Commission is today issuing its "Best Practices for Director Selection and Development." The report comes out just as Catalyst releases its 2012 Catalyst Census of Fortune 500 Women Board Directors, which reports that this year women hold 16.6% of board seats of Fortune 500 companies, a number unchanged from last year, and years previous.
Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst and a member of the WCD Global Nominating Commission, says: "Despite heightened conversation globally around women's representation on corporate boards, the 2012 Catalyst Census once again showed no change for the seventh consecutive year – and the challenge is not lack of qualified women." She continues, "our research also shows the advantage to companies when women gain access to the boardroom. Catalyst hopes that by bringing research-based data to the table, we can work together towards gender diversity on corporate boards, which will enable companies to benefit, finally, from the expertise of their talented women leaders."
"Companies are becoming starkly aware of the push for diverse boards from multiple stakeholders, including regulators, but they need guidance on how to get there," says Susan Stautberg, a member of the Global Nominating Commission and co-founder/co-chair of WCD.
"Our goal is to provide decision makers with a roadmap to build diverse boards that are multi-gender, multi-skilled, multi-national, multi-ethnic, and multi-generational. In order to do this, WCD is creating partnerships with leading organizations around the world such as Catalyst."
The Commission has developed Best Practices for Director Selection and Development as a tool for nominating committees and other influencers of board diversity. Produced by KPMG, it is the first comprehensive resource to pull together best practices for boosting diversity as well as links to:
- Articles and thought leadership about diverse boards and governance practices;
- Research reports on the metrics and impact of diversity; and
- Director databases and education tools.
"Ultimately, the goal is to improve governance, which is a vital factor in helping organizations survive the current economic and political uncertainty globally," says Ann Korologos, a director of Harman International Industries, Vulcan Materials, Host Hotels & Resorts, Kellogg, AMR Corp, and American Airlines, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor. "New mindsets are required for the multiplicity of challenges boards face – so that we can think expansively and consider all the opportunities."
"Think of our Commission in terms of a supply chain, and our mission as ensuring that nominating committees have a ready pool of great candidates for every type of board," says Maggie Wilderotter, chairman and CEO of Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR), and a director of Procter & Gamble, Xerox, and Catalyst. "By streamlining the nominating process, we speed the time it takes to get a great director on a board, which makes it easier to nominate the next candidate. When we reach the magic number of three diverse directors, I believe the process will take on a life of its own at that company."
WomenCorporateDirectors has exploded in membership worldwide, with new chapters opened in Cleveland, Finland, Japan, Milan, New Zealand, and San Diego this fall, and plans for Chile, Netherlands, Panama, Philippines, Rome, and Turkey in early 2013. The organization now comprises more than 1,800 members serving on over 2,100 boards worldwide. WCD issued a "Call to Action" at its inaugural Global Institute in 2011 – calling on multiple stakeholders to do their part in improving board diversity – and the Commission's recent and upcoming activities mark the progress in shifting board perspectives.
"As companies expand globally in their supplier networks, employee bases, and customer markets, they need the new kind of thinking that more diverse boards can bring," says Dr. Myra Hart, a director of Kraft Foods, Nina McLemore, Inc., and the Smithsonian Institution. "The Global Nominating Commission is already helping companies think differently about the directors they bring on who will help guide them into the next chapter of their growth."
For more information about the Global Nominating Commission and WomenCorporateDirectors, or to receive a copy of the Best Practices report, please contact CEO Davia Temin or Managing Director Suzanne Oaks of Temin and Company at 212-588-8788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD)
WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) is the only global membership organization and community of women corporate directors, comprised of more than 1,800 members serving on over 2,100 boards in 49 chapters around the world. In 2012, WCD launched the Global Nominating Commission, a high-level task force of select corporate board nominating committee chairs and members from around the world, as well as CEOs, focused on proactively building diverse boards and candidate slates. Each year, WCD conducts a Global Board Survey in conjunction with Heidrick & Struggles and researchers from the Harvard Business School. Heidrick & Struggles and KPMG are Global Founding Partners of WCD.
WCD has 49 global chapters, located in Arizona, Atlanta, Beijing, Boston, Brazil, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Colombia, Dallas/Fort Worth, Delhi, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gulf Co-operative Council, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Houston, Indonesia, Israel,, Japan, London, Los Angeles/Orange County, Malaysia, Melbourne, Mexico, Milan, Minnesota, Morocco, Mumbai, New York, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern California, Peru, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore, South Africa, South Florida, Switzerland, Sydney, Tennessee, Toronto, and Washington DC. For more information, visit www.womencorporatedirectors.com.