Electing the board of directors is one of the fundamental duties of shareholders in public companies. Boards that include diverse members are widely viewed by shareholders as enhancing decision-making capacity, lending a wider variety of perspectives and experiences to crucial decisions. Despite this conviction, Canada’s corporate board rooms have proven slow to embrace diversity.
In June 2015, SHARE and the Centre for Corporate Governance and Risk Management at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business co-hosted an Investor-Issuer Roundtable to explore the topic of board diversity. Gender diversity has attracted great attention in recent years and steps are being taken by many market participants to address the significant gap in the number of women on boards and to explore the case for other kinds of diversity, as well. Preliminary findings from research being undertaken at the Beedie School was presented.
The Roundtable was conducted under Chatham House rules. The following meeting summary provides an overview of the lively discussion among representatives of issuers, investors, regulators, academia and the voluntary sector. Issues for further conversation and examination were identified.
SHARE continues to pursue improvements to the diversity of corporate boards by engaging companies, governments and market regulators and through its proxy analysis and recommendations.
Read more in “Investor-Issuer Roundtable on Board Diversity” report.