Apr 11, 2022 - Economy & Business

Goldman's board diversity push is working

Illustration of men and women icons representing corporate board composition.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Goldman Sachs is succeeding in its efforts to diversify corporate board rooms, but still has a ways to go inside the bank.

  • "There's a lot to be done internally," Ilana Wolfe, who heads up corporate board engagement at the bank.

The big picture: More than two years ago Goldman Sachs said it wouldn't take a company public in the U.S. or Western Europe if there wasn't at least one woman, LGBTQ person or underrepresented minority member on its board.

  • Since then, it's taken 290 firms through the process. All met that requirement, Wolfe said.
  • Last summer, they bumped it up to two underrepresented directors, with at least one a woman.
  • Wolfe and her team helped find more than 50 minority or women directors for clients, she said. "It's something we feel is required to be a successful company," she said.

State of play: With one of California's board diversity laws struck down, and another being challenged — private efforts may be the last strategy standing when it comes to revamping these corners of power.

Goldman itself still is far away from gender equality. While the bank's board of directors is diverse — 6 out of 14 members are women — most of its leaders are male. Just 9 out of 34 members of its management committee are women.

  • In the U.K., which requires companies to publish pay data by gender, Goldman has a wide gender pay gap because its highest paid employees are men.
  • Around the time the UK started publishing the data, the bank set diversity targets around entry level hires, and announced several other policies, as well.

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