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New California legislation could shake up some the boards of commercial real estate’s biggest companies this year. SB 826, which went into effect January 1st, requires that all public companies have at least one female board member by the end of the year as a way to promote gender diversity in corporate governance. With several large publicly traded real estate companies based in California, it could mean a shift for the industry.

“Some of the industry’s largest publicly traded companies are based here in California, and while those industry leaders  have already begun embracing diversity as a compelling best practice many will still need to add additional female board members to come into full compliance by 2021,” Paige Serden, EVP at Newmark Realty Capital, tells GlobeSt.com. “Most larger companies were a bit quicker to respond to gender diversity to address concerns about “Me Too” issues, but smaller companies did not feel as compelled and have lagged on action. In fact there are several high-profile REITS within California which have not yet developed board diversity, with the recent Board Governance Research report noting that a full 20% of California’s publicly traded real estate companies had no female board representation at the close of 2018.”

Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in such publications as Travel + Leisure, Angeleno and Los Angeles Magazine.

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