Assembly Bill 979 (Holden) – Corporations: board of directors: underrepresented
Dear Chairman Bradford,
We, the undersigned API community organizations, are pleased to support Assembly Bill 979 which amends the Corporations Code, currently requiring corporations with executive offices in California have a minimum number of female directors on their board, to also include comparable requirements for underrepresented communities.
Since the beginning of recent social unrest, corporations have publicly messaged their support for diversity and Black lives. However, critics have pointed out this public support will not improve corporate diversity unless corporations implement long-term structural changes to remedy obvious inequities.
The most obvious is board representation, where minorities represent 16% of board seats in the Fortune 500 yet are 40% of the U.S. population and 63% of California’s.
The Harvard Business Review argues that a diverse board contributes to better decision making, improve company governance, and can respond to market shifts more effectively. These benefits are not restricted to the board of directors; the benefits of greater diversity contribute to the overall health of the company. A cultural shift in the boardroom cultivates an environment that values different perspectives and visibly signals a commitment to more equitably hire, retain, and promote women and minorities.
APIs are well represented in most technical and professional fields and comprise 33% of California’s white-collar workforce. However, as with other minorities, APIs are also underrepresented in the board room – only 3.7% of directors in the Fortune 500.
The API community joins with the other underrepresented communities to hope that AB 979 serves as a springboard to address ethnic pay gap, employment and outreach opportunities, board diversification, pipeline creation and upward mobility of diverse technical talent, and retention of that talent through company culture and development.
- Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area
- Asian American Unity Alliance (AAUC), President SK Lo
- Asian Law Alliance, Richard Konda, Executive Director
- Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI), Michael Chang, Founder
- Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), Ken Fong, Chair
- Association of Asian American Attorney and CPA Firms., Alexis S. M. Chiu, Esq
- Bay Area Asian American General Counsels (BAAAGC) Andrew Kim, John Kuo
- Chinatown Community Development Center, San Francisco, CA, Malcolm Yeung, ED
- Civic Leadership USA (CLUSA), Anthony Ng, Executive Director
- Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), Catherine Endo Chuck, President
- Korean American Bar Association (KABA) of Southern California, Kay Suh, President
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Jean Lee, President & CEO
- Monte Jade West, David Jeng, Chair
- National Asian American United (NAAUnited), President, Joel Wong
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Bonnie Wolf
- Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) Los Angeles, Cherisse Cleofe, President
- Sacramento Filipino American Lawyers Association (SacFALA), Justin Delacruz, President
- South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC), Charanjit Brahma, President
- Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (VABANC)