California funds’ corporate director database starts accepting candidates

Milestone for CalPERS/CalSTRS’ Diverse Director DataSource

A project conceived by the two Californian pension fund giants CalPERS and CalSTRS to source untapped talent to serve on corporate boards has been officially launched.
The new Diverse Director DataSource (or “3D”) is now accepting submissions from qualified candidates.

From today (September 26) applicants can submit their profiles on the system here. Once a pool of talent is established, shareholders, companies, diversity groups and others will be able to use the online system to recruit potential board directors.

“This is a milestone in the development of 3D,” said CalPERS’ head of Corporate Governance Anne Simpson in a statement. She said 3D opens the door to finding candidates with “fresh ideas and new perspectives” to prevent the ‘group think’ that contributed to the financial crisis.“Investors looking for ways to increase corporate value will find such voices in the corporate boardroom indispensible to boosting the bottom line,” added Anne Sheehan, CalSTRS’ director of corporate governance.
3D has been two years in the planning and has the support of California State Controller John Chiang who sits on the board of both funds. The system is run by corporate governance ratings firm GovernanceMetrics International (GMI), which took ownership and control of it earlier this year. The initiative comes amid the wider debate in the US about allowing shareholders to nominate board directors, so-called proxy access. Interestingly, at least one corporate is backing 3D, with Douglas Chia, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at healthcare firm Johnson & Johnson, saying: “This is a resource for those companies that understand that board diversity will give them certain strategic advantages.”