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Rep. Meeks and Sen. Menendez Reintroduce Corporate Diversity Bill

February 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Senior Member of the House Financial Services Committee, reintroduced the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act, which was first introduced in 2017 and would require public companies to annually disclose the gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status of their board directors, nominees, and senior executive officers. The bill’s companion in the Senate was simultaneously introduced by Senator Bob Menendez, who sits on the Senate’s Banking Committee.

“Diversity has been proven to have a positive impact on business performance, and it is only natural for investors to want to know which companies are choosing to bring in a wealth of different perspectives into their corporate board rooms. Revealing the gender, racial, ethnic and veteran makeup of these corporate C-suites and boardrooms will not only shed light on the value of diversity, but hopefully encourage corporate shareholders to increase diversity in the highest ranks of their corporations,” said Rep. Gregory W. Meeks.

“For too long corporate America has fallen short in racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Without greater diversity in top corporate positions, the U.S. will fail to compete with other leading economies and stall our nation’s progress towards full inclusivity,” said Sen. Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee. “This bill will ensure transparency in corporate America, while highlighting the need for further accountability for public companies. It’s time corporate boardrooms mirror the rich diversity of our country.”

Last Congress, the House passed the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019. Congressman Meeks and Senator Menendez are working with their colleagues and hope to pass the bill in both chambers.

                        Additionally, the bill:
 

  • 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.

 

  • Mandates OMWI to create an advisory council consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act requiring formal reporting, public openness and accessibility, and various oversight procedures.

 

  • Allows OMWI to solicit public comment on its best practices publication consistent with the formal rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedures Act.
     

The legislation is supported by the following organizations: American Bankers Association, American Council of Life Insurers, Bank Policy Institute, Financial Services Forum, International Council of Shopping Centers, Nareit, Real Estate Roundtable, NAIOP the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, the National Urban League, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 

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