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Traders in the S&P 500 stock index options pit. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The boards of companies listed on the S&P 500 and Russell 3000 are staying about the same, despite repeated calls from shareholders for shake-ups, according to a new report from The Conference Board.

The big picture: Last year, 50% of companies in the Russell and 43% of companies in the S&P saw zero change to their corporate boards, a review of SEC filings showed. And in cases where boards did add a replacement or addition, it rarely affected more than one board seat. Just 25% of boards elected a first-time director who had never served on a public company board before, the report found.

Between the lines: Average director tenure is 10 years or longer, the Conference Board found, noting that board seats rarely become available and, when a spot does open it is rarely filled by a newcomer without prior board experience.

Reality check: Calls for change are also coming from inside of the companies themselves. PwC's 2018 corporate directors survey found that almost half of board members thought at least on person on the board should be replaced.

  • The stalemate in board membership also handicaps companies' efforts to improve gender and racial diversity as most current board members are white men.

What they're saying: Interestingly, the issue seems more entrenched at smaller firms.

“We see a tale of two cities ... Larger companies in the Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 have focused on board refreshment and aligning the skills of the board to the company’s forward-looking strategy over the past five years. We see that many smaller companies lag behind in refreshment. Institutional investors will continue to pressure public boards to refresh their board compositions."
— Justus O'Brien, CEO of Advisory Partners, in the report.

Go deeper: S&P 500 closes at new record for the first time in 6 months

Go deeper

Biden: There won't be "American forces moving into Ukraine"

President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he does not foresee U.S. troops moving into Ukraine.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come as tensions between Russia and Ukraine persist, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine appears increasingly likely.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

The Robinhood M&A rumor mill churns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood's valuation is now just over $11 billion, a fraction of where it traded in August and below that of its last private round of funding. Cue the M&A mongers.

Why it matters: It's not just Robinhood—falling values of growth-oriented tech stocks have raised speculation that formerly high-flying fintechs could be snapped up by more well-capitalized buyers.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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