Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has announced that it will no longer be accepting initial public offerings in the U.S. if the company lacks any female or diverse directors, with diversity based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Goldman said in a statement.
“Starting on July 1st in the U.S. and Europe, we’re not going to take a company public unless there’s at least one diverse board candidate, with a focus on women,” Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said on CNBC’s Squawk Box from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And we’re going to move towards 2021 requesting two,” he added.
Bloomberg reports that Goldman Sachs’ mandate is not the first, though Goldman Sachs is the largest underwriter. BlackRock Inc. and State Street Global Advisors are voting against directors at companies without a female director, and public companies with all-male boards face fines in California.
“We realize that this is a small step, but it’s a step in a direction of saying, ‘You know what, we think this is right, we think it’s the right advice and we’re in a position also, because of our network, to help our clients if they need help placing women on boards,’” Solomon told CNBC. “So this is an example of us saying, ‘How can we do something that we think is right and help moves the market forward?’”
Goldman Sachs will be raising the threshold in the next year, from one diverse director to two. According to Bloomberg, the bank said the decision came after it learned more than 60 U.S. and European companies in the last two years went public without a woman or person of color on the board. Goldman Sachs has four women on its 11-member board.
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