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California State Teachers’ Retirement System Asks Facebook to Add Women to Their Board — To Make It a Better Investment

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Earlier this week, we reported on the dearth of women on the board of Facebook and how this might actually be to their detriment now that they’ve filed to become a public IPO. One organization — the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) — is now asking Mark Zuckerberg to please expand and diversify his board, because it could be in his best financial interests.

As the country’s second-largest pension fund, CalSTRS is responsible for paying the pensions of every teacher and member of the organization, plus their survivors) in the state of California. It supports several corporate governance initiatives, and as a Facebook stockholder when the company was still private, the organization would like to see more women on the board, as well as a larger board.

“We are disappointed that the Facebook board will not have any women members,” CalSTRS corporate governance director Anne Sheehan wrote in a letter to Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday. “We believe that investors and the company would benefit from a larger, more diverse board.”

Because who wants to invest in a company that looks like an exclusive, insulated boys’ club? Or, at least one that’s under fire for looking like one? Not too many, according to the Bloomberg story we quoted earlier, which we’ll quote again to remind everyone:

Just 11.3 percent of the Fortune 500 had male-only boards last year, according to Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit that researches women and business issues. …

A Catalyst survey of Fortune 500 companies found that those with three or more female directors outperformed those with fewer between 2005 and 2009, achieving on average 43 percent better return on equity.

So, it’s probably time to expand, gents.

(via Reuters)

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