As of January 1, 2021, all publicly held domestic or foreign corporations whose principal executive offices are located in California must have at least one director from underrepresented communities on their boards by December 31, 2021, either by filling an open seat or by adding a seat. One or two more directors from underrepresented communities would be required, depending upon the size of the publicly held corporation by December 31, 2022.
A director from an underrepresented community is an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Underrepresented Communities on Boards (AB 979) is an important step in diversity and inclusion in California. The Secretary of State's office is tasked to review and issue reports regarding the corporations' compliance with the bill’s provisions. The first report will be available by March 1, 2022.