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Talking Board Diversity: The Backlash Gathers Steam

We are delighted to bring you the next episode of our podcast series ‘Talking Board Diversity’, hosted by Emma Bartlett, Partner at CM Murray LLP in London, and Teresa Johnson, a San Francisco-based Partner at Arnold & Porter, exploring the key developments and current progress in bringing more diversity into the boardroom, both in the UK and in California.

In this episode, Emma and Teresa discuss how board diversity will be achieved in light of the prolific challenges to the board diversity rules across the US, and challenges in the UK to positive action measures taken by organisations who are trying to hit diversity targets. In particular, focusing on:

  • Why there have been such significant challenges to the Nasdaq board diversity rules and mandatory California quotas – and why such challenges are succeeding
  • The California rules introducing mandatory diversity board quotas were controversial from the start, but nevertheless had a significant impact on improving board diversity – not just with regards to gender, but also BAME. The rules appear to have brought about change quicker than any other jurisdiction
  • The UK is still catching up when compared to California. Notwithstanding the legal challenge knocking the rules down, is the improved board diversity here to stay, or will boards eventually revert to pre-2018 composition?
  • How and whether, in this new environment, boards will continue to be diverse
  • What is it about the investment community in particular that will continue to drive change?
  • What is new in the UK with regards to board diversity measures, including the FTSE Women Leaders review 2022
  • How board diversity is otherwise being progressed in the UK, including the use of positive action measures, which are being criticised as overstepping the mark in the form of unlawful positive discrimination
  • There has been overt pushback in the UK to setting diversity targets generally, and if steps taken to achieve ambitious diversity targets may be viewed as positive discrimination

For more information on the topics covered in this recording, please contact our Partner Emma Bartlett, who specialises in employment and partnership issues for multinational employers, senior executives, partnerships and partners.

You can listen to previous episodes in the series below:

CM Murray LLP is ranked for Employment (Employers and Senior Executives) by Legal 500 UK 2023. The legal skills of the team and the way they manage the matters is outstanding…they are proactive, open-minded, and always eager to find solutions to solve the most complex issues.’ (Legal 500 UK 2023)