By Eve Tahmincioglu
The number of women on corporate boards may still be scant, but data on newly minted directors bodes well for gender equity in the nation’s boardrooms.
A reported released by the EY Center for Board Matters this week found that nearly 40% of the new independent directors elected to Fortune 100 boards for the first time in 2016 were women. That compares to less than 25% of incumbent directors and less than one-fifth of exiting director who are women.
The report looked at a host of criteria for new directors including age and previous CEO experience.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key findings:
- Newly appointed women directors also are slightly younger than male counterparts (age 57 compared to 59).
- Only about half are current or former CEOs: About half (49%) have non-CEO backgrounds as corporate executives or have non-corporate backgrounds (e.g., scientists, academics and former government officials).
- 10% worked at an institutional investor, an experience which was highlighted to communicate the company’s interest in shareholder perspectives.
- It’s also notable that 17% of the entering class appear to be joining a public company board for the first time.
- New directors are mainly being added to audit committees: 40% of entering directors joined the audit committee during their first year on the board, following by nominating and governance (34%) and compensation(26%).
- The Fortune 100 Class of 2016 tends to be younger than their director counterparts: The average age of entering directors was 58, compared to 64 for incumbents and 68 for exiting directors.
- When it comes to top skills, expertise in accounting/corporate finance rank first: Accounting and international business skills were the top cited skills, ahead of skills such as strategy, technology and risk oversight.