Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) is the new Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. In this role, she plans to push for more diversity in corporate leadership positions. There are reports that she may create a subcommittee dedicated to this effort.
She has support from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus, which already has its own task force encouraging the prioritization of the inclusion of African Americans at all levels of the public and private sectors. The Congressional Black Caucus also has a specific initiative directed at the tech industry, and Rep. Waters has joined the caucus after visiting Silicon Valley.
Senior Democrats on the Committee are already preparing to introduce legislation on this topic. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the likely Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment, has previously introduced language that would require public companies to disclose the gender composition of their boards. The measure would also require the SEC to set up an advisory group on gender diversity.
Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the likely Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, plans to introduce legislation that would require public companies to disclose the gender, race, and ethnicity of their board members.
Our Federal Public Affairs Team here at Foley & Lardner has close relationships with high level officials of the relevant committees and can confirm that encouraging corporate diversity will be a high priority for this Congress. The related scrutiny will be especially high for companies with any large merger plans or anti-trust issues.