Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC)

Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC)

October 15, 2015 07:00 ET

Listen Up, Corporate Canada: CBDC Releases the 2015 Diversity 50 List of Board-Ready Candidates

Diversity 50 brings critical solution to board diversity and Canada's future competitiveness

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 15, 2015) - Today the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) released the names of the 2015 Diversity 50 cohort: a list of 50 diverse, highly-qualified candidates in search of roles on Canada's corporate boards.

Recent regulatory changes have highlighted the ongoing need to increase the number of female directors in Canada. The "Comply or Explain" disclosure requirements adopted by securities regulators in ten provinces and territories requires Core TSX-listed issuers to disclose both their approach to and progress toward achieving greater gender diversity on boards. Since the inception of the Diversity 50 initiative in 2012, CBDC has achieved 22 board appointments on FP500 or Fortune 500 corporate boards by increasing the visibility of board-ready candidates.

"More women than ever before are sitting on Canada's corporate boards, but we need to do more. Canada's future competitiveness depends on ensuring more boards are comprised of diverse, qualified candidates - including women, visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples," said CBDC Founder Pamela Jeffery. "The 2015 Diversity 50 list provides a much-needed resource to highlight candidates who have the knowledge, skills and behaviour to lead in corporate Canada. By giving corporate boards the tools they need to locate these successful individuals, we're allowing them to broaden their networks and, in the process, build a win-win situation for Canada as a whole."

Now in its fourth year, the Diversity 50 initiative addresses the "visibility barrier" faced by candidates. The 2015 cohort adds 50 board-ready candidates to the existing Diversity 50 database, which acts as a resource for directors and search firms who seek board candidates beyond their own networks.

"While Canadian boardrooms have made progress on diversity, we are committed to working with other organizations to see this accelerated. We have made diversity and inclusion a priority within our own organization and we are encouraged by what we are seeing in other boardrooms across Canada," said Frank Vettese, Managing Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte Canada. "We believe that boards need to draw upon diverse experiences in order to maximize opportunities, anticipate challenges and assess risks. This is the value that diversity brings to organizations and we encourage all boards to take a close look at the growing Diversity 50 list."

Fast Facts on the 2015 Diversity 50:

  • This year's Diversity 50 list includes eight men and 42 women.
  • In addition to six Aboriginal candidates (an increase from five in 2014), there are also 11 visible minority candidates.
  • This year's candidates hail from Canada's largest cities, spread across four provinces: Ontario (54%), British Columbia (24%), Alberta (4%) and Québec (18%). Mostly notably, the number of Québec-based candidates rose from 8% last year.
  • Since Diversity 50 launched in November, 2012, CBDC has achieved 22 corporate board appointments: 19 FP500 and 3 Fortune 500.
  • With this year's Diversity 50 cohort, the database now comprises 200 diverse, qualified candidates.

Quotes from Diversity 50 candidates:

"I'm honoured to be named to the CBDC's Diversity 50 list this year," said Paula Shannon, Chief Sales Officer and Senior Vice President, Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. "As a leader in a firm with a global workforce, almost 45% of whom are women, it's of vital importance that we continue the discussion about board diversity in corporate Canada. The Diversity 50 list helps companies to tap into an overlooked yet sizeable pool of talent to drive financial performance and sound governance while better understanding the demands of a broad range of customers and employees."

"As a past candidate, I believe that Diversity 50 is a great initiative and opportunity for candidates and for companies," said Annalisa King, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Best Buy Canada Ltd. "As a director on 3 boards, (2 appointments since I was named a Diversity 50 candidate), I can attest to what an enriching and fulfilling role these board positions are. Diversity 50 promotes the fact that there are so many talented women leaders out there who would contribute greatly to Canadian governance and the success of Canadian businesses."

For more information about Diversity 50 and the CBDC, and to review a summary of biographical and professional information for each 2015 Diversity 50 candidate and the list of candidates from previous years' cohorts, visit CBDC member organizations can access detailed background information.

In November 2015, the CBDC will also release the results of its 2015 Annual Report Card, which provides a complete view of the board composition of FP500 organizations.

About Diversity 50

Diversity 50 is an initiative of the CBDC, supporting its mandate to increase representation of such considerations as gender, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities at the boardroom of Canada's 500 largest organizations. Diversity 50 is a resource for directors and search firms. It is a list of diverse men and women from across Canada with strong competencies that align with the requirements of many Canadian boards.

To select the Diversity 50 2015, the Council vetted the list through a process endorsed by 11 participating CEOs: Deloitte Managing Partner and Chief Executive Frank Vettese, Co-Presenting Partner of Diversity 50; Coast Capital Savings President and CEO Don Coulter; Sun Life Financial Canada President Kevin Dougherty; TELUS President & CEO Darren Entwistle; Postmedia Network President and CEO Paul Godfrey; Canadian Oil Sands President and CEO Ryan Kubik; IAMGOLD President and CEO Steve Letwin; FedEx Express Canada President Lisa Lisson; Hydro-Québec President and CEO Éric Martel; Norton Rose Fulbright Global Vice Chair and Chairman-Canada Norman Steinberg; and, Suncor Energy President and CEO Steve Williams.

About the Canadian Board Diversity Council

The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) is the leading Canadian organization advancing diversity on Canada's boards. Founded in 2009, the Council has since grown to 60 Founding and Corporate Member organizations that are committed to greater diversity in the Canadian workplace. The Council's definition of diversity in respect of boards expands the traditional definition of industry experience, management experience, education, functional area of expertise, geography and age to also include considerations such as gender, ethnicity and Aboriginal status.

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