Morefield’s effective date came three days after The Washington Post published an analysis of the growth of female directors on America’s largest boards and noted Copart’s lone status. Copart had told The Post that it intended to fill a board vacancy with a “highly qualified, accomplished woman this year” and said it “would benefit from greater diversity that more accurately reflects that of our various stakeholders."
Copart did not immediately return an email with a query about the announcement’s timing.
The all-male board has been dwindling for some time. A decade ago, in 2009, there were 56 companies in the S&P 500 with all-male boards, according to ISS Analytics, the data arm of the proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services. That number fell to 20 in 2014 and then to just two last year as investor, advocate and public scrutiny has increasingly focused on the gender diversity on boards.
Major institutional investors, including BlackRock and State Street, have set expectations for gender diversity, with State Street saying it plans to vote against the entire nominating committee if the board remains all male.
California also passed legislation last year that will require public companies with their primary offices in the state to eventually have between one and three female directors or face fines. A similar idea has been proposed in New Jersey.
Among smaller public companies, however, the all-male board is still alive and well. In the Russell 3000, an index that includes the 3000 largest U.S. public companies and reflects the broad-based market, there were still 329 companies without a female director as of July 15, according to ISS Analytics. The vast majority of those boards — 271 of them — were among the smaller companies in the Russell 3000 that fall outside the S&P 1500.