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Flip it: instead of justifying “why diversity on boards?”, let’s ask the current homogenous cohort to prove “why not?”

A lot has been written about tokenism and diversity on boards. Ann-Maree Moodie, an expert in Boards and Governance, has recently explored the topic in the context of what it means to “lead for diversity”. In other words, what additional skills does a chairman, experienced only in leading a board composed of men similar to him, need in order to accommodate a greater range of people on the board? (You can read her thoughts here.)

Good point. And a very necessary place to start.

What is so often missed, in the diversity debate, is why there is such a struggle to justify the benefits of appointing anyone different to the norm.

Wouldn’t it be great if, just for once, we could flip it?

Just because the status quo on Australian boards is and has forever been majority white, middle-aged, Anglo men; who says that produces the best outcome for shareholders?

Instead of always proving the benefit of change, I’d love some proof of the “why not?”

If it’s true that the current, homogenous cohort of directors delivers the greatest return on shareholder assets than any others would, then show us.

And if there isn’t a sensible, viable and indisputable argument, then move aside! A spill and fill process would prize away long-termers and facilitate a board constitution more representative of shareholders, customers and stakeholders alike.  And in Australia, that’s a pretty diverse group!

Your thoughts?


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