On August 6, 2021, the SEC approved Nasdaq’s board diversity listing standards proposal. Nasdaq Rule 5605(f) requires Nasdaq listed companies, subject to certain exceptions, to: (i) to have at least one director who self-identifies as a female, and (ii) have at least one director who self-identifies as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, two or more races or ethnicities, or as LGBTQ+, or (iii) explain why the company does not have at least two directors on its board who self-identify in the categories listed above. The rule changes also made headlines in most major publications. One of the most common themes in the press was the lack of inclusion of people with disabilities in the definition of an “underrepresented minority” for purposes of complying with the new rules.
The original rules had tiered compliance deadlines which Nasdaq (and practitioners) found confusing and unnecessarily complicated. On December 14,