OPERS backs governance resolution

Statewide effort would encourage companies to hire women as directors

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

Nov. 14, 2019 – The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System is backing an effort at the Ohio Statehouse to seek more women for corporate boards of directors.

Research has shown board diversity can improve a company’s bottom line – that there’s a positive correlation between gender-diverse boards and lowered governance risk, enhanced decision making and increased shareholder returns. That’s important to institutional investors such as OPERS, which derives two-thirds of our pension benefit from investment returns.

And that’s why OPERS Corporate Governance Officer Patti Brammer joined several other business leaders from around Ohio this week to offer proponent testimony at a hearing on House Concurrent Resolution 13. It would encourage public companies to hire more women to their boards and include more women in leadership roles. The resolution is being jointly sponsored by Ohio Reps. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) and Thomas West (D-Canton).

“Passing this resolution shows the state is taking the first step in recognizing that increasing gender diversity and equity in corporate leadership would make Ohio a better place to live, work and retire with security,” Rep. West said when he introduced the resolution in September.

Brammer said a “robust pipeline of board-ready female candidates” already exists, and OPERS’ support of this resolution includes boosting that awareness. The resolution is not a quota or prescriptive measure to determine who should comprise Ohio companies’ boards of directors.

“We want boards to select the best candidates,” she said. “This resolution is about broadening horizons, changing board refreshment past practices and including alternate sources such as academia, government or even first-time board candidates in the search.”

“Increasing awareness is a vital step toward improving the board diversity of Ohio companies, and this resolution aids our engagement efforts.”

The resolution remains in the hearing stage, and no timetable has been set for introduction to the House floor.

OPERS’ Corporate Governance program focuses on adding value to our investment strategies and creating strong relationships with the public companies in which we invest by effectively voting proxies and responsibly participating in associated corporate governance activities, industry groups and coalitions.

 

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

  • Excuse me but why is this news? Sounds like there has been discrimination and now correcting this!

    Experience should prevail the broadening awareness not just including more women as an answer.

    I am embarrassed to have received this update.

  • How about the best qualified person? I don’t have a problem with anyone doing the job as long as they are the best qualified……Period.

  • Mr. Pramik –
    This is a nice article; however, I wonder if OPERS is still heavily invested with Fisher Investments after the billionaire owner, Ken Fisher, made sexist remarks at the Tiburon CEO Summit on October 8, 2019. If OPERS is backing a policy to hire more women for corporate board directors, perhaps they should first look at their own business and investment policies.
    CherylH

  • Well….golly gee.

    Respectfully request that spend less time fighting for PC and more time fighting to get rid of WEP.

    And since we paid into your system and you are not exactly meeting our expectations put the composition of your board on a back burner. Focus. On. Us. All. Of. Us.

    I am 72 and taking a beating from you. I don’t care how you are peddling your way out of 1965 when I am struggling (thanks to years of your NOT being a good steward of the pension system we were counting on) to tread water in 2020.

    • I could not agree more with JA. Those of us who have worked in both sectors (private and public) earned our money just as those who have worked solely in one or the other system. We paid into social security and are penalized, (taking a percentage of our retirement), with WEP.

  • We need to quit looking at PC and put the best “PERSON” in for the job. No matter what race, gender, age or sexual orientation.

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