Diligent and NYSE Report on Corporate Board Diversity & Refreshment Practices

Dottie Schindlinger


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A lack of diversity in gender, race, ethnicity and other demographics persists at the executive and board levels, underscoring the need for modern leadership. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Diligent Corporation set out to foster a discussion about the progress and methodologies used to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) at the highest levels of the corporate world.

The survey was designed to identify the specific board diversity and refreshment practices companies have implemented and shine a light on any strategies they have yet to embrace.

NYSE and Diligent report on board diversity

The survey sought answers to the following questions:

  • What goals are companies setting around board diversity?
  • What are the time frames within which companies plan to achieve their board diversity goals?
  • Which board refreshment strategies have companies already implemented?
  • How likely are companies to implement other board refreshment strategies in the future?

Key Takeaways

Increasing board diversity is on the minds and agendas of the majority of corporate boards. Four out of five respondents (81%) indicated that their board either already has a plan for increasing boardroom diversity or will have one soon. However, nearly half (45%) lacked a specific timeframe for meeting diversity goals.

The following are board refreshment strategies that companies are implementing most frequently when it comes to increasing board diversity. Among respondents:

increasing board diversity

While the vast majority of respondents have implemented board refreshment strategies, they have not yet embraced the following strategies:

board diversity strategies

The survey results also indicate specific ways boards can accelerate board diversity efforts. Respondents rated their companies' likelihood to implement board refreshment strategies in the future (ratings are on a 5-point scale):

actions toward board diversity

For more insights and analysis, download the full report.

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Dottie Schindlinger

Dottie Schindlinger is the Executive Director of the Diligent Institute, the governance think tank and research arm of Diligent Corporation. As a recognized expert in the field, Dottie promotes the intersection of governance and technology. She is the co-author of Governance in the Digital Age: A Guide for the Modern Corporate Board Director, 2019, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, and is creator and co-host of The Corporate Director Podcast.

Dottie was a founding member of BoardEffect, a board management software platform launched in 2007 focused on serving the needs of healthcare, higher education and nonprofit boards, acquired by Diligent in 2016. Prior to BoardEffect, Dottie spent 15 years working in a variety of governance roles, including as a board support professional, consultant, trainer, board member and senior executive. Dottie serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of the Alice Paul Institute, and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar.