Among the updates, ISS is announcing a new voting policy with respect to U.S. companies with no female directors serving on their boards, with a year’s grace period before implementation. The new policy will be effective for meetings on or after Feb. 1, 2020, and will be applicable for companies in either the Russell 3000 or S&P 1500 indices. After the year-long grace period, which will allow boards who wish to do so time to recruit qualified female candidates, adverse voting recommendations may be issued against nominating committee chairs at boards with no gender diversity. Under the policy as it will be implemented in 2020, ISS will generally issue recommendations against the election of the chair of the nominating committee, but on a case-by-case basis, the election of other directors who are responsible for the board nomination process may be impacted (for example, at companies with no formal nominating committee). ISS will also consider case by case any exceptional circumstances explaining the absence of board gender diversity.
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