Twitter Board Highlights Silicon Valley's Lack of Diversity

By Chris Hoenig


Twitter is going public, valuing itself in the $10 billion to $12 billion range. And who best to control a company with that valuation Apparently, nobody but white men.

As part of the paperwork for its initial public offering, the company has revealed its board of directors. Every single member is white. Every single member is a man. Go through Twitter’s investors and executive officers and you will find one lone woman: General Counsel Vijaya Gaddeand even Gadde is a late addition to the team, having been on the job for less than two months.

Executives say they do think it’s important to find a woman to join the board but that there’s a lack of qualified female candidates in the tech industry. However, Twitter, one of several Silicon Valley companies to publicly decline to reveal its EEO-1 data, is not your average tech company, as evidenced by the seven white men who will lead the company. It is also a media outlet, an entertainment center and one of the largest advertising platforms in the world.

The board includes some traditional tech honchos like former Netscape CFO Peter Currie and former Google executive David Rosenblatt, but it also has former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin and Peter Fenton from Benchmark Capital. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and co-founders Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey round out the board.

Costolo seemed to take the most offense to criticism of Twitter’s leadership. While the company has declined comment, Costolo slammed (on Twitter, of course) one of the sources The New York Times used in an article about the all-white board.

Qualified Women

A Yale School of Management professor told the Times that he came up with a list of 20 women qualified to sit on Twitter’s board in less than 10 minutes, and that he could easily name 20 more. After talking to several tech insiders, recruiters and academics, the Times offered its own list of 25 women. They include Joanne Bradford, President of the San Francisco Chronicle, who includes Yahoo! and Microsoft on her rsum; Intel President Rene James; AOL Brand Group Chief Executive Susan Lyne; and Geraldine Laybourne, a former executive at Nickelodeon and Disney, who has a tech-heavy rsum including board stints at EA (Electronic Arts), Symantec and children’s tech startup Kandu.

Also on the list: a board member at Google, successful advertising executives, the founder of USA Network, Time Inc.’s former chief executive officer and the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, just to name a few.

Benefits of Diversity

If Twitter’s all-white, all-male board thinks it can make appropriate decisions because its members can relate to Twitter users think again.

Women outnumber men on Twitter, with a study putting that difference at approximately 53 percent to 47 percent. And a Pew Research study finds that about 25 percent of Twitter users are Black, even though Blacks represent only about 12.5 percent of the population in the U.S.

Is there a business benefit to having women on the board According to a Catalyst study, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors got a far greater return on equity than those with the least, outperforming those companies by 53 percent. Return on sales was also higher (by 42 percent), as was the return on invested capitalby a whopping 66 percent.

Latest News

Southern Company Commits $700,000 To Advance Racial Equity and Social Justice for the AAPI Community

Originally published at southerncompany.mediaroom.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Southern Company Gas Charitable Foundation is announcing plans to donate $700,000 across its service territories to charities in support of improving equity and social justice. On the six-month…

Oak Park, Illinois

Illinois Professor Suspended, Charged with Hate Crime After Allegedly Spitting on Black Woman and Using Racial Slur

An Illinois professor has been suspended from his job and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly spat on and racially attacked a Black female driver in a suburban Chicago grocery store parking lot earlier this month. Antonio Planas of NBC News has reported that Alberto Friedmann, a professor…

Joaquin Castro

New Research Shows a Continued Lack of Hispanic and Latinx Representation in Movies, Media and Publishing

In a bit of disheartening news in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, a new government study has confirmed that Latinx individuals are vastly under-included and underrepresented in many parts of the media world. Astrid Galvan of the Associated Press reported on the study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office,…

Newberg, Oregon

Oregon School Employee Suspended for Showing Up to Work in Blackface To Protest State Vaccination Policies

Racial controversies continue to mount at the Newberg Public School system located in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Last week, students in the district’s high school conducted a mock “slave auction” on social media in which they ridiculed fellow classmates and discussed how much they would or wouldn’t pay to…