NACD and Vista Equity Partners Launch Pipeline Program to Increase Pool of Diverse Talent for Audit Committees
WASHINGTON, DC, and AUSTIN, Texas – The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 22,000 board members, and Vista Equity Partners ("Vista"), a leading global investment firm focused exclusively on enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses, today announced the launch of a new program that seeks to increase diversity among professionals who wish to serve on audit committees of the boards of private and public companies.
The program will provide individuals seeking to serve as first-time board members with 12-months of detailed curriculum tailored to audit committee and board preparation, with a specialized focus on financial literacy and audit committee readiness. The program will identify high-performing diverse executives and equip them with a deep understanding of the responsibilities and oversight role of the board. Participants will be sourced from leading accounting firms and interested individuals can apply to the NACD Accelerate program if they are looking to learn, advance and grow their knowledge and network to increase their exposure to corporate board opportunities.
While board diversity among S&P 500 companies has improved, it remains to be seen whether similar improvement is taking place among all publicly traded companies. Even with the progress this year, People of Color make up only 17.5 percent of all Fortune 500 directors; African American/Blacks count for 8.7 percent, Hispanic/Latinx account for 4.1 percent and Asian/Pacific Islanders make up only 4.6 percent (Source: Deloitte Missing Pieces Report). Recognizing the long-term nature of this work, NACD and Vista indicate the initial goal for this program is to have increased the pipeline of talent with an additional 300 to 500 diverse individuals by the year 2031.
"NACD has been at the forefront of building a diverse, equitable and inclusive boardroom, and we look forward to partnering with Vista to focus specifically on audit professionals," said Peter R. Gleason, NACD president and CEO. "With this program, executives from a diverse set of backgrounds will have access to our premier director education, including the opportunity to earn their NACD Directorship Certification® credential and access to networking opportunities, creating a new generation of highly-qualified directors."
"Diversity of thought and experience is essential in today's world, and a tenet we take very seriously at Vista. We are proud to partner with NACD on this program, which will help to build a steady pipeline of high-performing, diverse board candidates to help bring varied perspectives onto audit committees," said Bessie Watts, Director, External Board of Directors Program, Vista. "We are committed to preparing a diverse pipeline for companies who will benefit from access to a deeper bench of talent."
Vista seeks to promotes board diversity within its own portfolio through an independent board program, launched in 2017. Today, the program has a dedicated team and enhanced operations to identify leading independent board members for Vista portfolio companies and accelerate diversity for all boards. Vista has now placed almost 70 board members across its more than 70 portfolio companies, many of whom are from diverse backgrounds. The program also advances board diversity beyond the Vista portfolio to drive impact for the corporate world at large.
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 22,000 directors and 20 chapters 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 www.nacdonline.org. To learn more about NACD Accelerate, visit www.nacdonline.org/accelerate.
About Vista Equity Partners
Vista is a leading global investment firm with more than $81 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2021. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, permanent capital, credit, and public equity strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista's investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at vistaequitypartners.com. Follow Vista on LinkedIn, @Vista Equity Partners, and on Twitter, @Vista_Equity.