California’s Gender-Balance Law Hits Only One of Its Biggest Companies

(Bloomberg) -- California’s new law requiring at least one woman on boards of listed companies will barely touch the largest businesses in the state. All but one already are compliant.

A Bloomberg analysis of the 88 largest Golden State companies -- those with market capitalization of at least $10 billion -- shows that only cloud-software provider Veeva Systems Inc. has no woman director. Computer and printer producer HP Inc. had the highest proportion of female directors, at 40 percent, at the end of its fiscal year.

Ten other companies with at least eight people on their board, including chipmaker Broadcom Inc.; Palo Alto Networks Inc., a maker of security equipment; and Monster Beverage Corp. have only one woman director. The law requires all California companies to have at least one woman director by the end of 2019; larger ones will have to include at least two or three, depending on board size, by 2021.

Representatives of Veeva did not respond to requests for comment.

California’s Gender-Balance Law Hits Only One of Its Biggest Companies

Ten California companies with at least $10 billion of market value had boards in which women account for at least a third of the directors at the end of their latest fiscal years, led by HP and spin-off cousin Hewlett Packard Enterprises Co.

Chevron Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc. -- each among the world’s 50 biggest companies -- also made the grade, according to the Bloomberg analysis.

California’s Gender-Balance Law Hits Only One of Its Biggest Companies

The decision by California to push gender balance in boardrooms is significant for many reasons, not least because the state has more publicly traded companies than any other. Still, the initiative lags behind gender-balance rules in much of Europe, with Norway being the pioneer when it mandated about a decade ago that corporate boards have at least 40 percent female representation.

Smaller companies have more work to do: The state has almost 1,700 public companies that are “actively traded,” according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and about 165 of them had no female directors at the end of their fiscal year. The state is also home to about one-fifth of the world’s 100 biggest companies, including Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Broadcom, with a market value of $103 billion, added Gayla Delly to its board last December.

California’s economic output of about $2.7 trillion last year surpassed the gross domestic product of the U.K., ranking it the world’s fifth-largest economy behind the U.S. as a whole, China, Japan and Germany.

California’s Gender-Balance Law Hits Only One of Its Biggest Companies

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