Jan 23, 2020

Goldman Sachs CEO says bank won't take companies public without one female or minority board candidate

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told CNBC Thursday the investment bank won't help companies go public unless they have at least one diverse board candidate, “with a focus on women,” starting in July.

Why it matters: Government and shareholders are pressing public companies to put more women on boards. Goldman’s announcement will push some private companies to think about diversifying their boards before going public.

Details: Solomon said the policy is good for business, noting that U.S. companies with at least one woman on their board have outperformed those without over the last four years. He added that Goldman could help clients identify women candidates, if needed.

  • Solomon said board candidates are often selected from people who have already served as CEOs or CFOs of companies, a practice he said often leaves women out of contention.

What he's saying: “Starting on July 1 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 [...] And we’re going to move towards 2021 requesting two," Solomon said on CNBC's Squawk Box.

  • “Look, we might miss some business, but in the long run, this I think is the best advice for companies that want to drive premium returns for their shareholders over time.”

Of note: Four of the 11 members on Goldman's board are women.

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