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SAIC breaks new ground with board diversity

By adding Carole Goode and Yvette Kanouff to its board of directors, Science Applications International Corp. has broken new ground in terms of diversity among all public companies and not just government contractors.

SAIC's 10-person board now is evenly split between men and women, with five of each gender. This includes Donna Morea as its chair and Nazzic Keene as its CEO. Katharina McFarland is the fifth woman on the board and joined the acquisition of Engility last year.

SAIC’s percentage tops the 40 percent mark for women board members set by Booz Allen Hamilton earlier this year.

Both companies are above the national average for women board members. The Washington Post reported earlier in June that about 1 in 4 board seats are held by women, or 27 percent. That’s up from 16 percent in 2009. The report relied on data from the proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services.

The Post called the growth “glacial,” which is hard to argue with. On the plus side, 56 companies on the S&P 500 in 2009 had no women on their boards. As of that Post report, there was just one with an all-male board. But that company -- Copart, which is an online auto auction firm -- added a woman in July.

SAIC has moved quickly to add women to its board. According to its 2018 annual report, the board had two women at the time: Morea (just a member then) and Deborah Dunie, who stepped down sometime after the 2018 annual report was released. Keene became a board member when she became CEO on Aug. 1, bring the number to three.

In looking at the credentials of Goode and Kanouff, it’s also clear these aren’t appointments for diversity’s sake. Each brings skills and expertise that are hotly in demand in today’s market.

Goode will serve on the board’s human resources and compensation committee and the nominating and corporate governance committee. She’ll bring to bear her experience as a former chief HR officer for Brocade. She’s also held leadership positions in talent management and HR at other tech companies, including Nortel Networks and Seagate.

Kanouff will serve on the audit committee and the risk oversight committee. She currently is a partner and the chief technology officer at JC2 Ventures, a venture capital and private equity firm in Silicon Valley. Previously, she was a senior vice president at Cisco running their service provider business, which had $7 billion in revenue and 6,000 employees.

“Carol and Yvette’s counsel and expertise will bring energy to our board and strengthen SAIC’s commitment to talent development and enhancing mission-critical solutions to better serve our employees, customers, and shareholders,” Morea said in a statement.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 30, 2019 at 10:22 AM


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