March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
As the deadline approaches for submissions to the second annual NACD NXT awards, produced in conjunction with Deloitte, the March/April issue of NACD Directorship magazine features a cover story on why the board of the global gold and copper miner was chosen as the large-cap company winner for diversity and inclusion.
Newmont’s 15-year journey to achieve greater diversity and inclusion on what was once an all-male board features interviews with Newmont Chair Noreen Doyle, who also chairs the corporate governance and nominating committee; independent director Veronica (Ronee) Hagen, who chairs the leadership development and compensation committee; and director of global inclusion and diversity, Beatrice Opoku-Asare.
The story of the board’s evolution to its current composition is intended to provide to other boards a prime example of how to practice inclusion—and commit to continuing that practice. At the time the story was reported, Newmont’s 12-member board was 58 percent female and ethnically diverse; five of the 12 directors live outside of the United States where Newmont is headquartered. Setting targets (not quotas) is part of Newmont’s story.
Newmont was chosen from a group of large-cap company boards comprised of nominees Archer Daniels Midland Co., Estee Lauder Cos., Eversource Energy, HP Inc., Prudential, Target Corp., and Union Pacific Corp. Newmont board directors accepted their award at the first NACD NXT gala hosted by author and Bloomberg TV anchor Emily Chang before the opening of the 2018 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C.
The 2019 gala is scheduled for September 23 in Washington, D.C., and will fall amid the 2019 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit. This year there are two added categories. In addition to large-, mid-, and small-cap public company boards, NACD NXT will recognize two private companies, one large and one small, and a nonprofit.
In all, six awards will be given. Nominees in each category will be jointly announced by NACD and Deloitte in June and winners in each category, selected by an esteemed judging panel, will be revealed at the gala.
An excerpt of the story from the March/April issue follows.
The leadership at the top of Newmont’s house has been integral to the continued diversification from the board throughout the company, which has been reinforced by a board-approved people policy. It reads, in part: “At Newmont, we value diversity and promote an inclusive work environment. We are on a journey to becoming an industry leader in global inclusion and diversity. We welcome employees from a wide range of cultures and races. We seek to maximize local employment and to increase diversity in our workforce to better reflect the communities where we operate. We desire a work environment where all employees feel valued and are encouraged to contribute to their fullest potential.”
One of those employees is Beatrice Opoku-Asare, the director of global inclusion and diversity. She originally went to work at Newmont in her home country of Ghana as an environmental scientist. Three years ago, when she was promoted to her current role, she recounted in an interview, she moved from Ghana to Newmont’s corporate headquarters in Greenwood Village, Colorado. She grew up among a majority population. Arriving in the United States, Opoku-Asare found herself well in the minority.
“Think about that,” Doyle implored.
Given her science background, Opoku-Asare describes her love of experimentation and data as being well suited to her role as diversity chief. She enthusiastically describes her current study of how technology can be deployed to better inform Newmont recruitment and hiring activities. She also is active in various BRGs. On Newmont’s “Voices” blog, she recalled her transition to the United States. “Sometimes it’s the most simple things that an employee like myself [moving from Ghana to Colorado]— like clearing out your sprinkler line before the onset of winter.”
Among Opoku-Asare’s responsibilities is the development of targets aimed at providing Newmont with objectives by which diversity outcomes can be measured. At the end of 2017, female representation had nudged up to 14.7 percent from 14.1 percent the prior year. In its Africa region, Ghanaian nationals represented 50 percent of the leadership and 87 percent of management. In South America, 47 percent of the regional leadership is national. In Peru, 94 percent of management are Peruvian nationals, and in Suriname, the percentage of Surinamese nationals is 64 percent. None of these gains, she noted would have been possible without the support of Newmont leadership including its board.
Ready to read more? Click here to read the March/April 2019 issue of NACD Directorship magazine.