Monday, December 18, 2017
Business

At most area public companies, boards still thin on women directors

Despite a steady rise of influential businesswomen in the Tampa Bay economy, they remain poorly represented on the boards of directors of far too many public companies.

A Tampa Bay Times check of the board makeup of 10 larger publicly traded corporations based here found only 17 women among 95 directors. And even those results are skewed. Seven of the 17 women directors serve on the boards of just two companies: St. Petersburg-based HSN and Tampa's Bloomin' Brands.

In both cases, women serve as CEOs. HSN, run by Mindy Grossman, has four women on its 10-director board. And Bloomin' Brands, run by Liz Smith, has three women on its 10-director board. Both CEOs also serve as directors.

Without those two companies, the board rooms look even more male dominated.

TECO Energy has two women on a nine-member board, while Raymond James Financial claims two on its 10-member board.

After that, six of the remaining 10, including regional heavyweights Tech Data and Jabil Circuit, boast just one woman director apiece.

It's as if the stigma of male-only boards of directors has been solved, for now, with the addition of just one woman.

The lack of progress locally is disappointing, but not unusual. A 2013 survey of Fortune 500 companies by Catalyst, an advocacy group that tracks corporate board diversity, found that women held only 16.9 percent of corporate board seats, indicating no significant year-over-year uptick for the eighth straight year.

Among the 10 larger companies here, women made up 18 percent of their boards. But that's an inflated figure due to the cluster of women on HSN and Bloomin' Brands boards.

The genders differ on why they think women are underrepresented on boards. Men tend to believe that the "lack of women in executive ranks" is the primary reason that the percentage of women on boards is not increasing.

Women say it stems from "traditional networks (that) tend to be male-oriented." These findings appear in a 2012 Harvard Business School study backed by Heidrick & Struggles and WomenCorporateDirectors.

Among the boards of the 10 Tampa Bay companies, historical gender bias still seems prominent. HSN and Bloomin' Brands are not only run by women, but the companies operate in retail fields — where women tend to play more prominent roles. That contrasts with more technology-driven businesses like Tech Data and Jabil where senior women's roles still lag.

A handful of smaller publicly traded companies here still boast all-male boards. Examples include property insurer HCI Group or treasure hunting firm Odyssey Marine Exploration.

Last year, California state legislators passed a nonbinding resolution, the nation's first of its kind, urging public companies to increase the proportion of women directors by the end of 2016.

That kind of nudge would never fly in Florida. But companies that think they can deflect consumer criticism forever just by adding one woman to their boards will be rudely awakened.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Comments
Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

ATLANTA — While power has been restored to the world’s busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days. Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were gro...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17