Re "Open corporate doors to women" (Viewpoints, Forum, Oct. 6): We commend Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Professor Steven C. Currall for bringing the issue of corporate board diversity into the spotlight. As long-term shareholders, CalSTRS and CalPERS, the nation's two largest public pension funds, have engaged and continue to engage their portfolio companies on establishing greater board diversity.
We know that the homogeneity of corporate board rooms and executive suites excludes not only on the basis of gender, but also based on race, culture, expertise and thought. Diversity, in all its forms, provides boards fresh ideas and new perspectives that help companies generate lasting, sustainable value. It also provides a check against the kind of "group think" that played a significant role in the recent financial crisis.
In 2011 CalSTRS and CalPERS jointly commissioned the DiverseDirectorDatasource to expand the supply of diverse board talent. Now, we have to address the issue of demand.
-- Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance, CalSTRS, and Anne Simpson, director of corporate governance, CalPERS