Diversity in the Boardroom Makes for Better Results

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Photo credit: HuffingtonPost

The presence of women on corporate boards and in executive suites plays a critical role in recruiting and retaining talented women executives and in attracting and retaining customers, shareholders and vendors. Research confirms that women’s insights and experience enhance corporate strategy, expand market share and drive shareholder value.

There is a compelling business case for greater diversity on corporate boards and gender diversity is continuing to rise slowly in boardrooms.

Research conducted in 2016 on board composition found that having three women on a corporate board represents a “tipping point” in terms of influence, which is reflected in financial performance. The 2016 study looked at a snapshot of global companies in 2015 with strong female leadership, finding that they enjoyed a return on equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% for those without such leadership. (Source: MSCI)

The Boston Club is New England’s largest organization of senior executive and professional women, representing a range of industries including high tech. Here in Massachusetts, The Boston Club and Bentley University produce an annual gender diversity census. “The 2016 Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers of Massachusetts Public Companies” (see link to report below) finds:

  • A record 18.6% of all directors of the 100 largest public companies in Massachusetts are women, an increase of 2.5% over 2015.
  • The number of companies with at least one woman director also reached a record high of 83, up from 78 in 2015.
  • In the technology sector 14% of board directors in public companies are women.

While this progress is indeed encouraging, too many all-male boards remain.

In the Massachusetts technology sector, innovators like iRobot, American Tower, and Avid Technology are leading the way on diversity, with more than 30% of each company’s board seats held by women.  It is no accident that technology leaders like iRobot are so successful. It is encouraging to see the technology sector in Massachusetts working to achieve diversity in their boardrooms and executive suites.  According to Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, which has 3 women on its 8 member Board of Directors:

“Diversity in the board room, quite frankly, makes for a stronger board. From governance to strategic oversight, a diverse board of directors injects a unique set of perspectives and skillsets that are paramount to running a successful company. iRobot is proud to be a leading force in diversity, not only in our boardroom but throughout our entire company.”

For information on The Boston Club and its Corporate Board Committee, which recommends experienced executive women for board openings, contact Committee Chair Hilary Potts at hilary@hilarypotts.com.

For more information, access the full census report here