The Media Impact of Board Member Appointments in Spanish-Listed Companies: A Gender Perspective

Journal of Business Ethics 122 (3):425-438 (2014)
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Abstract

Recent corporate governance literature on gender diversity within boards has linked the effect of an increase in gender diversity to the firm’s corporate reputation. This paper analyzes the media impact of appointing new directors of Spanish companies at a particularly significant moment, during the period from 2007 to 2010, just a year before and 3 years after the Gender Equality Act was passed. By analyzing female and male board nominations in Spanish IBEX-35 companies, the paper examines whether appointing a female does have greater visibility than appointing a male, and thus a potential signaling effect for corporate stakeholders and an effect on the firm’s reputation. Results indicate that the effect on press visibility of appointing a female versus a male is negligible, although there is significant media visibility for new executive directors, in particular for the case of the only woman nominated as an executive director during the period. The paper contributes to the existing literature on gender diversity in corporate governance, specifically its effect on corporate reputation. The paper also offers information relevant to policy making and in particular to the current debate over quotas for women on boards.

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