NACD Comments on California Court Decision to Overturn Board Diversity Mandate
WASHINGTON, DC (April 8, 2022) – The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 23,000 board members, today issued the following statement from Peter R. Gleason, president and CEO, on the California law passed in 2020 mandating board diversity, which was struck down this week by Judge Terry Green of the Los Angeles County Superior Court:
“For more than 20 years, NACD has advocated for diverse and inclusive boardrooms. We believe that diverse boards and inclusive boardrooms are critical to the long-term success of every organization. Our research has demonstrated that boards with varied experiences and broad perspectives contribute to increased innovation, stronger performance, and greater resilience. In recent years, especially, there has been progress — but our work is not done.
“Moving from principle to practice is not automatic, and for that reason, we have focused on programs to identify, develop, and educate the next generation of diverse board directors. By connecting with a network of up-and-coming directors, future directors benefit from access to education and certification that often lead to directorship.
“We realize that simply adding diverse members to boards is not enough. Organizations must create cultures and environments that welcome and maximize the benefits of new perspectives. As a result, we have focused on providing essential tools, resources, and critical education on inclusion to boards—ensuring that new and diverse voices are heard.
“We believe that diversity and inclusion is no longer simply a moral imperative or only a regulatory requirement—it is now a widespread societal expectation of businesses, demanded by investors, employees, and customers. Indeed, it must be fully embraced and embedded in corporate standards, policies, and practices—regardless of mandates or other regulations. Viable candidates who offer diverse perspectives can no longer be overlooked. Through programs like NACD Accelerate and the NACD Center for Inclusive Governance, we will continue to push forward for progress—long overdue—on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
For more than 40 years, NACD has been on the leading edge of corporate governance, setting standards of excellence that have elevated board performance. NACD arms today’s directors with insights and education that drive their mission forward, while preparing a new generation of boardroom leaders to meet tomorrow’s biggest challenges. NACD is a community of more than 23,000 directors driven by a common purpose: to be trusted catalysts of economic opportunity and positive change—in businesses and in the communities they serve. To learn more about NACD, visit nacdonline.org.