At Chicago City Council today Aldermen Gilbert Villegas (36thWard) and Jason Ervin (28thWard) united with over 30 members of the City Council Latino, Black, and Progressive Caucuses as well as key stakeholders to call for increased diversity among corporate and institutional boards within companies that are both publicly traded or privately held conducting business in the City of Chicago as well as City of Chicago departments, agencies, board and commissions.
“Businesses that call Chicago home should have a Board of Directors that reflects the diversity of our City. Chicago’s economy as a whole would be further strengthened if corporate governance began to look more like our City,” said Alderman Villegas. “Our Council is a great example of that, we have council members that are completely diverse. It is our diversity that gives us strength and inclusivity in the board room is an asset.”
Alderman Jason Ervin, Chairman of the Black Caucus concurred, “ We stand here in support because diversity does matter. I look forward to having hearings on this matter. Not to call in private companies to attack them. Rather, to bring in examples of good governance and give them a chance to explain to people in their own industries why board diversity will help their bottom line.”
The resolution states that any and all matters of large public and private companies that come before this Council, or any other City Agency or Department, take into account the efforts and record of racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the Board of Directors of such large public and private companies in granting any City business, permit or license.
The Council Resolution (R2020-167) looks to compliment HB 3394, that state law that requires public corporations headquartered in Illinois to disclose the ethnicity, race and gender of their board of Directors. As a direct result of the passage of this law the University of Illinois will now grade corporations headquartered in the state on their diversity.
The Aldermen were joined by a coalition of diverse executive and community leaders. David Arenas, Latino Leadership Council (LLC) Board Member, put it most simply, “We live in a diverse society. Leadership that does not match its work force is bound to fail.”
“ Good governance requires diversity and people of color to serve on Corporate Boards and there are qualified individuals that are ready to serve. Diversity is an asset and we are a resource.” Esther Aguilera – Director, Latino Corporate Directors Association.