MT. PLEASANT, Mich -- After two male directors retire, the GM board will lead the way for gender equality in the auto industry by becoming the first automotive corporation to have a majority female board. This first for an automaker places GM among a small handful of companies with roughly the same number of men and women at the highest level.
This shift comes during a time where women are slowly gaining more power at the largest U.S. companies, lifted by pressure from investors and employees as well as state-mandated quotas. Researcher Equilar says women may now compromise half the members of Russell 3000 company boards by 2034, a forecast that's been shortened by two decades since 2016.
Unless major changes take place in the composition of other company boards, Barra and incoming Best Buy Co. CEO Corrie Barry will become the only female CEOs in the S&P 500 who serve a board with a majority of women directors.
Additionally, the board will shrink from 13 to 11 members, with two directors not standing for re-election at the annual meeting on June 4, the company said in its proxy filing. Jim Mulva, former CEO of ConocoPhillips, and Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, are both 72, the retirement age for the automaker's board.
The board will temporarily waive the retirement age requirement for Lead Director Tim Solso, also 72, for one year to assist in GM's "period of transformation" the company said. Six women, including Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra and five men complete the slate of members up for shareholder's approval at the annual meeting.
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