Amazon board to address diversity with new policy
The firms says it will ensure that diverse candidates must be included when considering board openings.
Of the company’s ten board members, all are white and only three are women.
The move comes after initially opposing the shareholder proposal to instate the rule – also known as the ‘Rooney Rule’ following an NFL edict that requires a similar process when interviewing for top coaching or management positions.
The initial proposal from shareholders said Amazon’s board must take more practical steps to promote diversity within its ranks.
It said: “Shareholders have long believed that embracing diversity will benefit companies by providing greater access to talent, harnessing existing talent more effectively, and improving decision making by reducing groupthink and similar psychological biases.”
Amazon had originally opposed the shareholder proposal, saying that finding diverse candidates was already a consideration when filling spots.
It said at the time: “The board believes that adoption of the policy requested by the proposal would not be an effective and prudent use of the company’s time and resources.”
However on Monday it responded again with an US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, saying: “The Amazon board of directors has adopted a policy that the nominating and corporate governance committee include a slate of diverse candidates, including women and minorities, for all director openings. This policy formalises a practice already in place.”
In a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, Amazon’s VP of public policy Brian Huseman said: “We reached this decision after listening to your feedback as well as that from Amazon employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders about the board diversity proposal.
“These conversations led us to reconsider both our decision on the shareholder proposal and how we explained our initial recommendation.”