Voya Financial: Board Diversity by Design
When Voya Financial-which helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings-went public in 2013, it had an opportunity to change its culture and establish a new kind of company, built on new values and a new vision. Voya’s leaders embraced this responsibility, which included making board diversity an essential aspect of corporate governance. In fact, board diversity was designed into Voya’s DNA. Today four of Voya’s nine independent directors are women and Voya’s board represents a diversity of gender, ethnicity, age and skills. Members include current and former CEOs and have expertise in risk management, marketing, technology, financial services and other areas.
Board and CEO Leadership
Voya’s existing board of directors – including the lead director and members of the board’s nominating and governance committee –and its chairman and chief executive officer, Rodney O. Martin, Jr., believed that a diverse board would enable Voya’s success. Their focus was on establishing a strong and highly skilled board able to present diverse views, help mitigate potential blind spots, or “groupthink,” and position Voya to be agile in an ever – changing competitive landscape. Martin’s membership in the 30% Club, a group of business leaders committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organizations, including in the boardroom, is reflective of this mindset and commitment.
Voya made a purposeful decision to create a truly diverse board because its leaders saw it as critical to business success and cultural transformation. In evolving its board of directors, Voya looked to implement corporate governance best practices from successful companies. From the beginning, Voya integrated diversity into its governance structure and established a process to regularly review the skills and insights that each director brings to the board, thereby ensuring that the company remains well – positioned for ongoing growth and competitiveness in an evolving marketplace.
A Catalyst report on gender diversity found that companies with sustained high representation of women on their board (defined as three or more women in at least four of the preceding five years) outperformed those with sustained low representation. The facts were clear – companies with more diverse boards tended to be more successful. An environment where every board conversation is engaging and enriched by a variety of viewpoints and experiences enables a better and stronger board that is able to provide more valuable oversight and insight for the company.
Measurement & Impact
Voya has delivered strong results and several notable accomplishments since its 2013 initial public offering. Voya’s diverse board of directors has contributed to those successes, which include:
- Achieving in 2014 – two years ahead of schedule – the Adjusted Operating Return on Equity goals Voya set during its IPO
- Credit rating upgrades from the major rating agencies,
- Returning more than $2.3 billion in excess capital to shareholders(as of year- end 2015), and
- A 10 – point improvement in organizational health index scores
Voya has also earned recognition for conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible, including the following:
- Named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute for three consecutive years.
- Honored by the Women’s Forum of New York for board diversity of more than 40 percent.
- Recognized by the New York Stock Exchange as a finalist for the B est Board Diversity initiative.
- Ranked number 78 by Newsweek Green Rankings
- Received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual survey that assesses workplaces on LGBT equality, for the 11th consecutive year.
- Listed on the MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes, which includes companies with the highest environment, social and governance (ESG) ratings and strong sustainability profiles.