Meeks Announces Passage of Corporate Board Diversity Amendment
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks announced the successful inclusion of his amendment within the Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. Meeks offered the amendment with his New York colleagues Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Congressman Ritchie Torres, both of whom serve with Rep. Meeks on the House Financial Services Committee.
The amendment would require public companies to annually disclose the race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and veteran status of their board directors, nominees, and senior executive officers. The amendment also creates a Diversity Advisory Group that would report on strategies to increase corporate diversity. The amendment empowers SEC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) to publish triennially best practices, in consultation with an advisory council of investors and issuers, for compliance with these enhanced disclosure rules.
The amendment includes aspects of Congressman Meeks’ bill, the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act (H.R. 1277), which passed out of the House Financial Services Committee by voice vote in April.
After passage Rep. Meeks stated:
“I want to thank my colleagues Reps. Maloney and Torres. Our amendment will not only promote diversity, but it will also provide additional transparency for investors who want to know which companies are choosing to leverage America’s diversity in their board rooms and C-suites.
“As we build back better, holding public companies accountable for their public commitments to diversity will be a necessary step toward closing various wealth gaps, and obtaining diversity data is necessary towards that aim. We look forward to working with our colleagues on eventual enactment of this proposal, whether as a standalone bill or through a larger package,” said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05).
“Getting more women, minorities, and individuals from historically underrepresented communities into corporate leadership positions is extremely important. Leaders set the tone, and they set the priorities,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12). “Increasing diversity on corporate boards is not just a moral issue — it’s good business too. Study after study has shown that companies with greater diversity on their boards perform better financially. This legislation empowers investors to invest in companies that align with their values and financial goals by requiring public companies to report the voluntary, self-identified racial, ethnic, gender identity, and sexual orientation composition of their board members and executive officers in their annual proxy statement. This is smart, straight forward legislation, and I urge the Senate to pass it quickly.”
“The make-up of corporate board rooms continues to lag behind the ethnic and racial diversity of our nation, and women and people of color are still severely underrepresented in corporate leadership and C-suite level positions. This amendment will ensure corporations are transparent about who is leading them, and make efforts to diversify their corporate boards. I applaud Rep. Meek for his leadership in advancing this important issue, and urge for swift passage in the Senate,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15).