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SEC Chief Accountant Pushes Board Diversity as a Priority

During his March 24 speech in Knoxville, Tennessee, Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker pressed audit committee members to make board diversity a priority on their upcoming agendas. Bricker said board diversity would help enhance the ability for an audit committee to oversee financial reporting and lower the possibility of group think. He also mentioned academic research which discovered that boards with diverse members experience improved quality in financial reporting, and are more probable to view management accountable for weak financial performance. Bricker’s push for diversity reflects investors calling for more diversity among corporate directors and those. Read More.

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SEC Committee Fails to Reach Consensus on Board Diversity

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies recently failed to agree on proposed changes to improve disclosures regarding board diversity. During its December 7 conference call, panel members held lengthy discussions about the diversity disclosure recommendations but could not reach a consensus to vote. Per Release No. 33-9089, Proxy Disclosure Enhancements, public companies must disclose in proxy statements if diversity plays a role in their director nomination process and how such considerations are made. The release, however, does not provide a clear definition of “diversity,” but gives companies the freedom to determine how the. Read More.

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Cal State at the Forefront of Diverse Campus Leadership

One of the nation’s largest higher education systems is leading a trend toward increased diversity among campus leadership positions. The California State University System has appointed women presidents at 11 of its 23 campuses, nearly twice as many since the end of 2014-15. Cal State has also doubled the number of Asian-American women in campus presidential roles, and has five Latino and three African-American presidents leading its campuses. More on Cal State’s push for diverse leadership at campuses is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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SEC Chair Pushes for Increased Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards

Speaking at a global conference on women in Washington, D.C. this week, Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) chair Mary Jo White criticized the lack of women in boardrooms. In her remarks, White expressed frustration at the slow progress of gender diversity among corporate boardrooms and top management. Despite companies using mandatory quotas and other efforts to increase the representation of women on boards, White does not believe such methods are the best answer to boosting diversity. Citing recent data numbers and research, White said increased board diversity creates stronger boards since women have a higher understanding of employee and customer. Read More.

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