Posted on December 17, 2021

Blackrock Adds Diversity Target for U.S. Boardrooms

Ross Kerber and Jessica DiNapoli, Reuters, December 14, 2021

Top asset manager BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) on Tuesday said it wants U.S. companies to aim for a board that is 30% diverse and, for the first time, contains at least one member from an under-represented group.

In new guidelines explaining its priorities for 2022 at portfolio companies, posted on its website, the $9.5 trillion asset manager also gave companies new guidance for reporting on climate change. But it said some continued investment in fossil fuels will be needed.

Together, the updates showed the influential New York-based firm taking steps similar to other big asset managers pressing portfolio companies on environmental, social and governance considerations.

Earlier this month Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) said it wants big companies to have at least one director from an under-represented group, citing the growing availability of corporate disclosures showing personal diversity data.

Boards have been bolstering their diversity by adding new members in recent years, in line with growing attention to the subject from investors, employees and customers.

Among S&P 500 companies, 21% of directors are either Black, Asian or Hispanic, according to executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart. {snip}

{snip} According to language sent by the spokesperson, directors from under-represented groups can include racial or ethnic minorities, people who identify as LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and veterans.