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Senator Menendez Initiates Survey To Assess Minority And Women Representation

March 17, 2010
  
Dear Members, 
 

As you know, the NAA has been working for some time on improving the role of Hispanics in corporate governance and management; as well as the use of Hispanic, minority and women-owned businesses by corporations. A key component of our efforts has been to help educate officials at the local, state and federal level on the challenges we face. As you can see from his press release, Senator Menendez has taken the initiative to heighten the visibility on this issue. We applaud Senator Menendez and thank all of you who continue to work on behalf of the Latino Community. (See press release below).

Thanks,

John C. Guerra, Jr.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     
March 16, 2010
CONTACTS:

Menendez Press Office 202-224-4744

SENATOR MENENDEZ INITIATES SURVEY OF FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES TO ASSESS MINORITY AND WOMEN REPRESENTATION IN AMERICA'S TOP BOARDROOMS
 
Survey meant to collect aggregate information of women and minorities on corporate board, on executive management team and in procurement practices

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Task Force and the lone Hispanic Senator in the Senate, today announced his efforts to help develop a complete understanding of diversity among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies. He has sent a survey to each Fortune 500 company, which is meant to gauge the amount of minority and women representation on their corporate boards and their management teams, as well as their use of minority and women-owned businesses in the contracting and procurement arena. The survey is meant to produce an aggregate report on the state of participation by minorities and women in corporate management, and the responses from individual companies will be kept confidential. Menendez's office does plan to release a list of companies that refuse to participate. 

"We need a snapshot that will show us if the boardrooms high atop Wall Street look like what we see every day walking down Main Street," said Senator Menendez. "As Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, one of my top priorities has always been promoting and expanding diversity at all levels of our economic, political and social sectors, and the basic understanding that will come from this survey will help guide us in doing so. Hispanics, for instance, represent more than 15 percent of our population and encompass nearly $1 trillion in purchasing power, and I believe it is very important that our nation's corporations reflect those realities. That is why I am asking our nation's major corporations and firms to join me in this informational venture regarding the highest levels of their decision-making teams. I invite my Senate colleagues to join me in this effort, and hope that we will continue to make history together when it comes to improved diversity in our social, economic and political sectors." 

"As a national organization of Latino business leaders united to advance the American Latino community, we are concerned by the dismal statistics on diversity among the top echelons of our nation's leading corporations. That is why we applaud Senator Menendez's initiative and encourage others to follow his leadership," said John Guerra, President of the New America Alliance.   

In the letter to Fortune 500 company CEOs that accompanies the survey, Senator Menendez encouraged major corporations and financial institutions to evaluate the level of minority representation, particularly Hispanics, on their corporate boards and most senior executive positions and to complete the survey by May 1st. Aggregate data compiled from companies through this survey will be publicly presented after the project is completed. 

A recently updated report by the New America Alliance (NAA), which supports this effort, cites dismal statistics on the use of Hispanic-owned money management firms in the U.S. and asks the question what are we doing about this issue. 
 

To view a copy of the survey, click here: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Menendez Diversity Survey.pdf

 
To read a PDF of the letter click here: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Menendez Diversity Survey Letter.pdf

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER 

Dear ___________ 

As Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force and as the only Hispanic serving in the United States Senate, one of my top priorities is promoting and expanding diversity at all levels of our economic, political and social sectors.  That is why I write to express my support for minority representation on your board and in your senior management, as well as in your company's procurement of goods and services, and request that you fill out the attached survey detailing your progress in these areas. Given that Hispanics represent more than 15 percent of our population and encompass nearly $1 trillion in purchasing power, it is very important that our nation's corporations - both large and small - reflect that diversity in their decision-making structures.   

As a United States Senator, I have cast numerous votes this year to confirm a highly diverse group of nominees to federal posts in the current administration.  In fact, these nominees represent the most diverse group of any presidential administration and contain the highest number of Latino appointments ever in the history of this nation.   

However, for many years, I have been concerned with the poor level of Hispanic representation on corporate boards and among senior executives across major corporations and financial institutions in this country. I am encouraged that the SEC has recently adopted corporate governance and executive compensation rules that require companies to disclose whether and how their diversity policy is implemented when selecting their Board, which is an important first step to holding our corporate sector accountable but we still have more to do.  I have also been concerned with the persistent underrepresentation of Hispanic-owned businesses in the contracting and procurement arena.  According to a recent survey by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), Hispanic businesses are still underrepresented in the procurement process. In fact, although a majority of the Fortune 100 companies who responded to HACR's survey utilize Hispanic-owned firms, the actual dollars allocated to those firms represented a mere two percent of their spending.  For these reasons, I am conducting this survey to gain a better understanding of Hispanic participation in our corporate executive teams, board rooms and procurement practices.    

It is my hope that we can make history together in your corporate boardrooms and in your executive management teams by taking tangible steps to ensure qualified Hispanics and other minorities are adequately represented.  Completion of this survey will show your commitment to improving diversity among the highest ranks of your corporation.  I fully intend to have a public presentation of the data compiled from companies that participate, as well as shed light on those that do not.  My goal is not to embarrass but instead to work with you to promote our shared goals of diversity.  I would appreciate a response no later than May 1, 2010.                      





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