Efforts to secure diversity on corporate boards have reached a new level of intensity. Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed a statute into law on Wednesday, September 30, which will require publicly held corporations whose principal executive offices are located in California to satisfy mandated levels of racially, ethnically and other diverse directors beginning in 2021.
By emphasizing the interests of “underrepresented communities,” the new legislation promises to significantly increase the level of boardroom engagement on matters of leadership diversity. In so doing, it serves to broaden existing concepts of diversity to include specific ethnic groups and matters of sexual orientation. It is also a dramatic supplement to 2018 California legislation that required public companies headquartered in the state to assure the appointment of specified numbers of women to the board of directors—a groundbreaking development