Diversity in the Boardroom: Findings and Solutions from the ICD

Dec 05, 2011
 
The Institute of Corporate Directors firmly believes greater board diversity can contribute to better corporate governance. We reached this conclusion following a multi-faceted, year-long dialogue with our national membership.

While gender dominates the current dialogue on diversity, the ICD defines diversity along broader lines. We consider diversity of gender, ethnicity, age, business experience, functional expertise, personal skills, stakeholder perspectives, and geographic background to all be important.

Board diversity is a topical and increasingly global issue. Many countries, including France, Iceland, Norway and Spain, have introduced some form of mandatory quotas for gender representation on public company boards. Others, such as Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Iceland, South Africa, Israel and Switzerland, have introduced similar quotas to ensure board seats for women in government-owned companies.

In Canada, Quebec adopted legislation in 2006 requiring 50% of the board seats of state-owned enterprises as a group to be held by women by December 14, 2011. The ICD does not support mandatory legislation or quotas to increase diversity in the boardroom. We do believe, however, that Canadian boards and directors can and should be doing more to increase board diversity.

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