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Meeks’ Corporate Diversity Bill Passes HFS Committee

July 12, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Last night, the House Financial Services Committee passed, with bipartisan support, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks bill, HR 1018, the “Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019” out of the committee. 

• The bill requires public companies to publish diversity data annually in their proxy statements, based on voluntary self-identification, on the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of their board of directors, nominees for the board of directors, and executive officers.  Similarly, companies must publish data on those who have voluntarily self-identified as veterans.  

• Public companies will also have disclosure requirements on the adoption of any board policy, plan or strategy to promote diversity. 

• The bill also directs the Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion of the SEC to publish, every three years, best practices for compliance with the disclosure requirements of this bill, including through solicitation of public comments.  

• Finally, the bill directs the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the SEC to establish an Advisory Council, that includes issuers and investors, to advise on these best practices.

Rep. Meeks issued the following statement:

“The ‘Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019” is the culmination of years of methodical work, built on the premise that transparency is the first step to accountability.

“Corporate America should reflect the diversity of America, and the markets they seek to serve.  Not only is increasing diversity in the C-Suites and corporate boards the right thing to do, it is the smart business decision to make.  Time and again we have seen studies reveal the value a diverse board adds to a company’s decision making process through unique perspectives. 

“Progress in diversity and inclusion, including at the most senior level of organizations, is key to making companies more responsible stakeholders in the American community and economy, and has been shown to improve financial performance. 

“I am very proud of having passed HR 1018 through the Financial Services Committee with broad, bipartisan support, and look forward to advancing this legislation through the House, and in the Senate.”

HR 1018, the “Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019” was endorsed by the NAACP, National Urban League, US Chamber of Commerce, NASDAQ, Council for Institutional Investors, and the Office of New York State Comptroller. The Senate companion bill, S. 360 is sponsored by Senator Menendez (NJ), and co-sponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (CA) and Cory Booker (NJ).