On August 6, 2021, the SEC approved Nasdaq’s board diversity listing standards proposal. Not surprisingly, the approval vote was divided with Commissioner Hester Peirce dissenting and Commissioner Elad Roisman dissenting in part. On the same day as the approval, Chair Gary Gensler and Commissioners Peirce, Roisman and Allison Herren Lee and Caroline Crenshaw issued statements on the new Rules.
As more fully explained below, new 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