Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance Teams with Executive Search Firm Heidrick & Struggles to Advance Boardroom Diversity

Stanford’s Rock Center and Heidrick & Struggles collaborate to establish a policy that at least half of the candidates on the search firm’s initial board slates will be diverse

Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance

Expanding diversity in corporate boardrooms is a major challenge for many firms. To address this concern, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance collaborated with leading executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to formalize a policy designed to increase dramatically the number of women and members of underrepresented groups considered by boards when searching to add or replace a director.

“We hope that Heidrick & Struggles’ new policy will prompt other search firms to adopt similar commitments, further accelerating the pace at which boards diversify,” said Joseph A. Grundfest, W.A. Franke Professor of Law and Business at Stanford and Senior Faculty at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance.

“We are taking this public step to underscore our commitment to a diverse talent landscape which reflects the world we live in and most effectively meets our clients’ needs. The notion that there is a shortage of diverse, board-qualified candidates is a misconception. There are many exceptional female leaders and ethnically diverse executives globally who will make highly impactful directors given the opportunity to serve,” said Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and co-managing partner of the global CEO and Board practice at Heidrick & Struggles.

“For more than a decade, the Rock Center has focused on the lack of diversity in corporate boardrooms through its academic research and programming for executives, board members, and investors,” said Amanda K. Packel, Managing Director of the Rock Center for Corporate Governance and Co-Director of Stanford’s Directors’ College executive education program. “It has been very exciting to collaborate with Heidrick & Struggles, as this commitment to diversity will have a significant and immediate practical impact on the number of diverse candidates  considered for board positions.”

According to Gwin, with this new policy, Heidrick & Struggles pledges that a minimum of half of the candidates on its initial board slates, presented to all clients globally on an annual basis, will be diverse. In addition, Heidrick & Struggles will also seek to expand its network of women and members of underrepresented groups with no prior corporate board experience.

About the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance

The Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance is a joint initiative of Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. Founded in 2006 with a generous gift from venture capitalist Arthur Rock and his wife, Toni Rembe, the Rock Center was created to advance the understanding and practice of corporate governance in a cross-disciplinary environment where leading academics, business leaders, policy makers, practitioners and regulators can meet and work together. The Center is led by outstanding faculty from both the law school and the business school, with active collaboration from its advisory board.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.