Treasurer Goldberg Launches New “Bringing Diversity on Board” Initiative

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Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg

Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg hosted a technology roundtable as part of a new initiative focused on exploring challenging barriers to, and successful strategies for, diversifying corporate boards.

The Treasurer’s Office will host additional roundtables with finance, health care, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals companies, following which they will publish a report designed to help companies implement effective strategies for advancing board diversity.

“In a 21st century global marketplace, maximizing financial success requires improving boardroom diversity,” said Treasurer Goldberg in a statement. “We look forward to studying proven strategies around the country and engaging with a wide range of corporate leaders and experts to help them drive tangible progress on this critical business issue.”

MassTLC and members companies Care.com, iRobot, Paradigm4 and Wayfair participated in a robust discussions about not only how to enhance board diversity, but also how diverse governance boards help companies maximize profits, expand business opportunities and best serve the interests of shareholders. 

According to a statement, Goldberg, who chairs the board of the state’s $62 billion pension fund, has made shareholder engagement and corporate governance key priorities since taking office in 2015.  Under new custom proxy voting guidelines proposed by Goldberg and approved this year, which impact how the pension fund votes as a shareholder in the roughly 9,000 companies it owns stock in, the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board now votes against or withholds from all board nominees if less than 30 percent of the company’s board is diverse in terms of gender and race.

While recognizing the impact of these reforms, Goldberg also noted that voting and enforcement alone cannot change corporate culture and institute the systemic changes needed to accelerate the pace of progress in boardrooms.  The roundtables and subsequent report from the Treasurer’s Office will aim to build upon existing work done by government, corporate, academic and non-profit leaders around the country.

Individuals interested in learning more about the initiative should email  board.diversity@tre.state.ma.us.