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Lujan Grisham, Castro Welcome Amazon Decision to Increase Board Diversity

May 15, 2018
Press Release
Lawmakers Urged Bezos on Friday to Reconsider Adoption of the Rooney Rule, Include Diverse Candidates for Board Openings
Washington, D.C.— Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, welcomed Amazon’s decision today to support the adoption of a policy that would allow qualified women and minorities to be considered for all board openings. On Friday, the Members wrote Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressing concern over Amazon’s Board of Directors recommended vote against a shareholder proposal that would implement the “Rooney Rule,” which requires qualified women and minority candidates be considered for director positions. The members wrote:
 
“We believe the adoption of the Rooney Rule is a particularly important proposal for the company given that Amazon is the sole corporation among its peers to not have a single person of color among their board of directors.  In fact, of the 105 top executives at Amazon, only one is Hispanic.  For Hispanic managers, which includes both men and women, that number is only five percent.  With Hispanics accounting for the nation’s largest minority group and nearly 17 percent of the labor force, it is clear that Amazon has room for improvement,” the Members wrote.
 
“The technology sector and companies like Amazon are leaders in innovation and developing some of the most cutting-edge and life-changing technologies in the world.  We think that embracing innovative ideas to make real change should apply across the board- including employing new ways to embrace the diverse makeup of our nation to better incorporate the ideas, talent and voices of all segments of our nation.”
 
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrote Amazon in October 2017 requesting they actively work to address the systemic lack of diversity in the technology sector. Amazon responded by underscoring diversity as an important consideration across the company, and reiterated Amazon’s intent to include a diverse workforce that meets the needs of the customers they serve. Given this response, the Members felt CEO Jeff Bezos would be inclined to support a proposal that would include women and minority candidates alongside other skilled individuals.
 
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