This topic was detailed in a new report out of the Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal policy, called Proxy Monitor 2011: A Report on Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism, which was cited in in the Financial Times article from earlier this week.
"Investors and directors alike know that a strong and diverse set of skills, experiences and perspectives make for a stronger corporate board. I'm pleased to see today's announcement of the DataSource project because it gives publicly-held companies a new tool to improve their management structure. It gives managers another resource to find new talent, improve corporate governance, and ultimately improve financial performance of publicly-held companies."
This is the press release from the pension funds:
Diverse Director DataSource Begins Accepting Submissions from Potential Board Candidates
SACRAMENTO, CA - The Diverse Director DataSource, a new resource for finding untapped talent to serve on corporate boards, is now open to qualified candidates.
Beginning today, applicants with the skills and experience to be a candidate for a director's seat can submit their profiles at www.GMI3D.com.
Once a pool of talent is established, shareowners, companies, diversity groups and other organizations will be able to use the Diverse Director DataSource - "3D" - to recruit potential board directors.
The DataSource was conceived by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS). GovernanceMetrics International (GMI), an independent provider of global corporate governance ratings and research, was commissioned to develop the database earlier this year. It is now owned and maintained by GMI.
"This is a milestone in the development of 3D," said Anne Simpson, CalPERS Senior Portfolio Manager, head of Corporate Governance. "We're inviting people to now submit their information so that GMI can build this powerful resource for supporting board quality through improving diversity. 3D is an innovative resource that opens the door to finding candidates whose fresh ideas and new perspectives can help companies generate lasting, sustainable value and provide a check against the kind of 'group think' that played a significant role in the financial crisis."
"Bringing value to corporate boards through diversity goes beyond race and gender and into a varied range of background, experience and perspective," said Anne Sheehan, CalSTRS director of corporate governance. "Investors looking for ways to increase corporate value will find such voices in the corporate boardroom indispensible to boosting the bottom line."
CalPERS and CalSTRS began work on the Diverse Director DataSource two years ago, following the strong support of California State Controller John Chiang who spearheaded an effort to raise diversity among corporate boards. Chiang is a Board Member of each pension fund. 3D was developed with the help of corporate governance experts, institutional investors, companies, search firms and academics. GMI took ownership and control of it earlier this year.
"With this initiative, the institutional investor community is creating an important opportunity to expand the pool of qualified corporate directors beyond the traditional boundaries," said Douglas Chia, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Johnson & Johnson. "This is a resource for those companies that understand that board diversity will give them certain strategic advantages."
"New America Alliance believes that corporate board and executive diversity is at the heart of maintaining and increasing a company's competitive advantage by inclusion of the broadest possible perspectives represented in the market," said Pilar Avila, Chief Executive Officer of New America Alliance. "As America's leading institutional investors, CalPERS and CalSTRS are providing an invaluable data resource for companies to find diverse board and executive candidates at a time when leadership diversity can make a significant impact to the bottom line."
"Companies face global challenges and need diverse talent on their boards to ensure they have the skills and experience to succeed," said Ira Millstein, Senior Associate Dean for Corporate Governance at the Yale School of Management.
CalPERS is the nation's largest public pension fund with approximately $224 billion in market assets. It administers retirement benefits for 1.6 million active and retired State, public school, and local public agency employees and their families and health benefits for more than 1.3 million members. The average CalPERS pension is $2,220 per month. For more information about CalPERS, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.
CalSTRS, with a portfolio valued at $147 billion, is the largest teachers' pension fund and the second largest public pension fund in the United States. It administers retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California's 852,000 public school educators and their families from the state's 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts. For more information about CalSTRS, visit www.calstrs.com.