Throughout the history of the United States, meaningful two-way conversations about race have been as frequent as lightning striking twice in the same place. Meaningful conversations about race in corporate boardrooms have been as likely as lightning striking three times in the same place — until now.
Prior to the 2021 Proxy Season, conversations in the boardroom around the topic of race may have been increasing. However, they have not produced the kind of results that many people want to see. There were 95 Nomination and Governance (Nom Gov) committee chairs that had high percentages of shareholders vote to withhold support from them this year primarily because their companies did not disclose information regarding the racial composition of their board. This could be the harbinger of the personalization of accountability for directors. Nom Gov chairs are perhaps the first group of directors that may feel pressure over racial equity issues from stakeholders, but they won’t likely be the last.