Mountain View, Calif. (December 11, 2014) – Fenwick & West, one of the nation's premier law firms serving technology, venture capital and life sciences companies, today released its Corporate Governance Survey and its adjunct Gender Diversity Survey. The surveys cover more than a decade of governance and leadership trends comparing companies in the S&P 100 and their relatively smaller and younger counterparts in the Silicon Valley 150 (SV 150), which are concentrated in the technology and life sciences industries.
This year's findings hold some surprises about corporate governance practices among Silicon Valley companies both at a high level and in significant detail:
“When the sample size of women in executive positions is not large to begin with, even a small change can look statistically significant; and the metaphor extends to other categories of governance,” Bell noted. “By adding the Fenwick Gender Diversity Score and simultaneously releasing the Corporate Governance Survey, we hope to provide both context and a macro view so that readers can choose their level of detail, from broad to extraordinarily nuanced.”
“Fenwick’s Corporate Governance Survey and its Gender Diversity Survey are excellent resources and bring robust data to discussions around governance practices and the gender makeup of the leadership ranks of companies in the technology sector and nationwide,” said Theresia Gouw, prominent venture capitalist and co-founder of Aspect Ventures. “Gender diversity is an issue I care deeply about and I commend Dave Bell and Shu White for their work compiling and analyzing 19 years of data to highlight some of the trends we see around women leaders in Silicon Valley. This report offers insights into some key areas for growth and can be seen as an aide to companies looking to benchmark and improve their gender diversity.”
Fenwick did not originally set out to analyze gender data. Now in its second year, the Gender Diversity Survey has grown into its own out of Fenwick’s Corporate Governance Survey, which analyzes overall trends in management, leadership and governance.
The gender diversity data was striking enough that co-authors David A. Bell and Shulamite Shen White believed it merited its own analysis. However, because the data and analysis was unprecedented, it generated more interest than its authors could have anticipated. Accordingly, the firm decided to release the Surveys together this year, so that each could provide context for the other and provide a more complete picture of trends in leadership and governance in Silicon Valley and the S&P 100.
About the Surveys
The Fenwick & West Corporate Governance Survey is authored by law firm partner David A. Bell, and the Fenwick & West Gender Diversity Survey is co-authored by David A. Bell and associate Shulamite Shen White.
The Corporate Governance survey provides insight into corporate governance practices of the companies included in the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index (S&P 100) and the high technology and life sciences companies included in the Silicon Valley 150 Index (SV 150) each year. This unique body of information covers corporate governance trends for the period following the passage and implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
The Gender Diversity Survey looks at the same group of companies with an eye toward women’s participation in leadership positions. This in-depth set of information covers gender diversity trends for the period between the 1996 proxy season through the 2014 proxy season.
Both surveys contain valuable data and intelligence for publicly traded technology and life sciences companies across the U.S. as well as public companies of all sizes and across industries generally.
About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies at every stage of their lifecycle. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions for established and emerging companies on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders.