Closing The Gap

15% of the 3,000 largest companies in the US still have no female board members

Kityaya | Twenty20

Though study after study demonstrates that boardroom diversity results in higher returns and lower risk, the percentage of large companies with all-male boards remains high.

There were 457 companies among the largest 3,000 firms in the U.S. with no female board members as of December 31, 2018, according to data from Equilar. That's a slight improvement from 2016, when 738 companies had no female board members.

Significantly, 31 of the companies among those 457 with no female board members are consumer goods companies, a group that's uniquely reliant on female customers. Women say they make 81 percent of purchasing decisions about daily consumer goods, according to the Statista Global Consumer Survey 2018.

Companies in this group include well-known household brands like TripAdvisor, La Croix-parent National Beverage and Skechers.

In many of these cases, the lack of female representation goes beyond the board. Skechers has an all-male nine-person board and no women on its executive management team. National Beverage Corp has an all-male five-person board and an all-male management team. CNBC reached out to both companies but did not receive a response.

TripAdvisor has an all-male board of eight, though two of the 10 executives on its management team are female. The company told CNBC that it recognizes the value of diversifying its board room and it is working to replace Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who recently chose not to stand for re-election.

"We are in the final stages with two such candidates and expect to be able to announce next week the addition of two female board members," said TripAdvisor Sr. Director of Corporate Communications Brian Hoyt via email.

J&J Snack Foods Corp., which makes Whole Fruit juice cups and bars, has an all-male board, and six of the seven people on its management team are men, according to data from Factset.

The company told CNBC via email: "We are fortunate to have several women in management and executive-level positions who make tremendous contributions, not only in their respective areas of expertise but also in their unique understanding of women as core target consumers."

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Kityaya | Twenty20
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