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IoD on Govt move to place more women on public boards

IoD comments on Government move to place more women on public boards

Diversity on boards encourages innovation and growth says IoD
Organisations that prioritise diversity in their leadership are more likely to foster growth and innovation, Institute of Directors’ Chief Executive Kirsten Patterson said today.

“Diverse organisations foster innovation and growth. Diverse boards create open and inclusive cultures where people feel free to speak up, innovate and grow.
“Diverse boards set the tone from the top, and influence their whole organisation. Diverse boards foster cultures where talent can be identified and nurtured without unconscious bias. ”

IoD chief Kirsten Patterson was commenting on the announcement today by Minister for Women Hon Julie Anne Genter, that women will comprise half of all directors on state sector boards and committees by 2021.

The Institute of Directors is New Zealand’s pre-eminent membership organisation dedicated to professionalising governance around board tables. Its more than 8,700 members are drawn from listed companies, large private organisations, state and public sector entities, small and medium enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and charities.

“True diversity is about having a balance of gender, ethnicity, age, and different perspectives,” Kirsten Patterson said. “Equally important is the calibre, skillset and experience that people on boards bring to the table of their organisation. For some time the Institute of Directors has encouraged boards to think about how they can improve diversity within their organisation.

“Companies that prioritise diversity in their leadership are 45 percent more likely to grow market share and improve shareholder value, compared to publicly traded companies lacking diversity. They’re also 70 percent more likely to capture new markets.

“Boards of directors play a crucial role in enabling organisations to achieve their mission or purpose, whether that is to deliver services to stakeholders, or create wealth for shareholders. A director role carries a wide range of duties and responsibilities – ethical, legal and commercial. It’s a serious obligation.

“Since 2012, the Institute of Directors has run a programme called Mentoring for Diversity. This links experienced diverse directors and senior executives with chairs and senior directors from NZX or large company boards for a year. The programme aims to help mentees gain experience that will help them gain director appointments, particularly in large company environments or on NZX boards.

“We also run a Future Directors programme which allows candidates to sit at the board table for 12 months; and an Emerging Director Awards programme to recognise up and coming talent from the regions.

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