Ellen Siminoff, founding executive at Yahoo!, joins the all-male board of social gaming company Zynga.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
From the successful Internet campaign to add Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to the all-male board of directors at the social networking giant (which happened after the company went IPO), to a steady stream of studies and articles touting higher ROI for companies with women on the board, there is a growing awareness of board hegemony making decisions for a heterogeneous society.
Former Yahoo! executive Ellen Siminoff was added Zynga’s board of directors this month, the first woman to join the previously all-male board. She will also join the audit committee at Zynga.
Zynga’s customer base “right now is women who are middle-aged and I fit into that demographic. There is something to be said for boards having people who are representative of their customers,” Ellen told Bloomberg. Women 2.0 agrees wholeheartedly.
Ellen sits on the boards of Mozilla Corporation, Efficient Frontier, Journal Communications, US Auto Parts, SolarWinds and now Zynga. She currently serves as CEO and founder at Shmoop University.
Women In The Boardroom
The championing of women in boardroom seats of companies large and small is reaching fever pitch this year after the Facebook debacle. After Facebook and Zynga’s public offerings, they finally relented to diversify their boards to increase ROI (and looking at their stock prices, they will need all the help they can get to restore investor confidence).
But there still are many, many companies that have all-male boards.
The website 2020 Women on Boards spotlights companies with at least 20% women on their board including Akamai (4 of 10 board members are women) and BrightPoint (2 of 10 board members are women). The technology and materials sectors have the highest percentage of all-male boards (both over 52%), according to a Credit Suisse study.
Check out the percentage of women on corporate boards of companies and get involved in helping increase the representation of women at the highest levels of decision-making at companies.
Why women, especially in today’s milieu of plummeting tech stocks and accusations of insider trading?
“Multiple academic studies have concluded that diverse corporate boards exercise more diligent oversight,” said Michelle Lamb, author of a study in the a GMI report released this week. “They have better attendance records than homogeneous boards, and they invest more effort in auditing when the complexity of the business warrants heightened scrutiny.”
This move by Zynga in adding a woman to their board of directors is timely but will it fix Zynga?
“With women making up 60% of user base, having 0% women on the board of directors was a mistake on their part. Hopefully this is a correction to correct the slipping revenues and a chance for Zynga to better understand and serves its most lucrative customer by having them represented at the highest level,” said Women 2.0 CEO Shaherose Charania.
Is a new board member enough to turn around Zynga? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1” for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.