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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

29 mins ago - Health

Internal CDC presentation warns: "The war has changed"

Graphic: CDC via The Washington Post

Unpublished research indicates that the Delta variant causes more severe illness and spreads as easily as chickenpox, and that vaccinated people may transmit the strain as easily as those who are unvaccinated, according to an internal CDC presentation obtained by WashPost.

Why it matters: The data played a key role in the CDC's decision to tell vaccinated people to resume masking indoors, with the presentation calling on health officials to "acknowledge the war has changed," The Post reports.

Updated 33 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Women's 5,000 meter heats at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

🎾: Novak Djokovic defeated in Olympic semi-finals

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🏊‍♀️: South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker breaks world record in 200m breaststroke

🏊: Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy wins Silver in 200m

🚣‍♀️: Team USA women's eight rowing fails to reach the podium

💻: Japan tests teleporting games and "remote cheering"

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Exclusive: Lawmakers urge probe into DOJ's alleged racial profiling of Asians

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 100 members of Congress members urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the Justice Department's alleged racial profiling of Asians, according to a letter shared with Axios.

Why it matters: The case of Anming Hu, a scientist who was baselessly targeted in an espionage probe, has renewed scrutiny of the DOJ after an FBI agent admitted to falsely implicating the Chinese Canadian.

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