Four top Wall Street firms and Ford Motor will begin disclosing the race and gender of individual directors as part of deals struck with New York City’s pension officers, city comptroller Brad Lander said Thursday, while a utility company offered the idea. has been pushed back. ,
In addition to Ford, companies such as JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs will provide self-identified disclosures on race, ethnicity and gender, according to a representative for Lander.
Such person-by-person disclosures are becoming more common in the form of tables in annual corporate proxy statements as companies seek to show investors their concerns for boardroom and workforce diversity.
Not all boardrooms have embraced the idea, however. Lander’s statement said the city’s pension fund has filed a shareholder resolution with NextEra Energy for similar disclosures, but NextEra urged investors to oppose the idea at the company’s May 19 annual shareholder meeting. Vote is recommended.
In its proxy statement, NextEra said it has already published details about the skills of individual directors and infographics showing overall diversity statistics about the board.
“Applying an instructional matrix by an individual director may promote a check-the-box approach to freshness, thus increasing the risk of sidelining a qualified candidate,” NextEra said in its proxy.
NextEra said it may also mislead shareholders into “wrongly believing that only a subset of directors contribute to particular decisions or represent the board on particular matters.”
Lander said director-by-director disclosure is needed to allow investors to judge the composition of the board in line with the company’s mission and financial health.
“The commitment to diversity and inclusion is hollow if those values are not reflected in the boardroom, where decisions affect their entire workforce,” Lander said in a statement sent Thursday.