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Board Composition and Director Recruiting Trends

Featuring commentary fromand   

Board Composition and Director Recruiting Trends, an Equilar publication, examines the boards of directors as disclosed in annual proxy statements (DEF 14A) of Equilar 500 and Russell 3000 companies over the last five years. The Equilar 500 tracks the 500 largest, by reported revenue, U.S.-headquartered companies trading on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE, Nasdaq or NYSE MKT (formerly AMEX)), adjusted to approximate the industry sector mix of similar large-cap indices. The report identifies trends in the composition and disclosure of S&P 500 boards with respect to prevalence of new directors, gender, race and ethnicity, skill set, and more. KPMG’s Board Leadership Center and Semler Brossy Consulting Group provide commentary on how companies structure boards and recruit directors within the current governance landscape.

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Key Findings:

  • The prevalence of new directors in the Equilar 500 dropped 1.9 percentage points from 12.0% in 2016 to 10.1% in 2017, while Russell 3000 companies saw an increase in new directors from 8.7% to 10.8% during the study period.
  • In 2017, 40.5% of Equilar 500 companies disclosed a mandatory retirement age policy in comparison to 18.6% of Russell 3000 companies
  • About 21% of Equilar 500 and 16% of the Russell 3000 board seats were occupied by women in 2017, but only 8.4% and 5.6% of leadership positions, respectively (chair or lead director), were women
  • 45.1% of Equilar 500 companies disclosed board composition by gender, vs. 39.8% of companies that included composition details in terms of race or ethnicity
  • More than half of all board seats in the Equilar 500 were occupied by directors who serve multiple boards in 2017, a figure that has been increasing steadily since 2013
  • About one in six companies in the Equilar 500 included a board skills matrix in their 2017 proxy statements, up from about one in eight in 2016