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Dramatic increase in women on boards
As of the month of March 2022, women directors fill 37% of the board seats on the Lonergan SV150. Compared to our study of Silicon Valley boards published in our 2015 Who Runs Silicon Valley Board edition, this is a huge increase in representation of 23 percentage points. A relentless focus on gender diversity in the Silicon Valley has yielded a change in recruitment at the board level.
- Board seats filled by women: 157 in mid-2015 rising to 457 today
- Percent women held seats: 14% in mid-2015 rising to 37% today
- Number of Lonergan SV150 boards with no women directors: 45 in mid-2015 dropping to 0 today
Note: these diversity statistics above do not include the 155 boards seats filled by the CEOs of the LSV150 (147 men and 8 women — there are five companies with two male co-CEOs.
More than three times the number of women serving as Board Chairs since our 2015 study
In our ongoing analysis of gender diversity on the boards of public technology companies in the Silicon Valley, we are starting to see a noteworthy increase in the number of women executives taking on the board chair leadership role. In our 2015 landmark look at the directors of Silicon Valley 150 boards, there were only four companies whose boards were chaired by women (see note below).
The table below lists the fifteen Lonergan Silicon Valley 150 companies with women Chairs as of March, 2022.
|Rank||Company||Name of Chair and Title (title is from company website or press releases — if necessary, title was taken from LinkedIn profile)||Timing|
|Name of Previous|
Lisa Su, Chair and CEO
Nora Johnson, Chair
Brad Smith, former CEO
Kathryn Marinello, Chairperson
Kathryn is first Chair in role
|Stitch Fix||Katrina Lake, founder and Executive Chairperson (former CEO)||pre — IPO (Nov 2017)||Katrina has been Chairperson|
since the company was founded in 2011
|DocuSign||Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman of the Board||Jan 2019||Keith Krach, former CEO |
Penny Herscher, Chair
Penny Herscher, Chair
Ajay Shah, co-founder
|Sunrun||Lynn Jurich, Co- Executive Chair and co-founder|
|Lynn now shares role with co-founder Edward Fenster|
|Virginia Gambale, Chair||June 2021||Dheeraj Pandey, founder-CEO, Exec. Chair|
|Yelp||Diane Irvine, Chairperson||Sep 2015||Max Levchin, co-founder|
|Box||Bethany Mayer, Board Chair|
|Aaron Levie, CEO founder|
|The RealReal||Julie Wainwright, CEO, founder and Chairperson|
|Julie is a pre-IPO chair|
|Qualys||Sandra Bergeron, Chair|
|Philippe Courtot, CEO founder (who passed away shortly after leaving CEO role)|
|143||PagerDuty||Jennifer Tejada, CEO and Chairperson||Became CEO in July, 2016||Unclear who was chair pre-IPO, but Jennifer|
replaced founder CEO Alex Solomon
|146||thredUP||Patricia Nakache, Chairperson||Sept 2020||Unclear — she was pre-IPO investor|
Note: The 2015 boards chaired by women were: Hewlett Packard (2015 SV#2 chaired by CEO Meg Whitman); Oclaro (2015 SV#102, chaired by Marissa Peterson); Affymetrix (2015 SV#106) chaired by Jami Dover Nachsteim); and Genomic Health (2015 SV#119 chaired by CEO Kimberly Popovits). Hewlett-Packard was split into two new public companies, with spin-off HPE moving HQ to Texas; Oclaro, Genomic Health and Affymetrix have all since been acquired.
Dismal number of women CEOs
Since we started tracking the number of women CEOs of the Silicon Valley in 2014, when there were five women CEOs in the SV150, we have not seen any momentum behind this metric. There are currently only eight women CEOs of the companies on our ranking.
This is despite two of our list’s rare women CEO-founders replacing themselves with women CEOs (at LSV#57 Stitch Fix and LSV#70 Sunrun).
Unlike our tracking of women board directors (see analysis above), the number of women CEOs in this ranking is not a metric with a trend line — the number of women CEOs inches up and down a little each year, but has seen no meaningful trendline improvement.
The current eight women CEOs of the Lonergan SV150 are:
- Lisa Su, AMD (LSV #20)
- Jayshree Ullal, Arista (LSV #49)
- Elizabeth Spaulding, Stitch Fix (LSV #57), replacing woman CEO-founder Katrina Lake
- Mary Powell, Sunrun (LSV #70), replacing woman CEO-founder Lynn Jurich
- Hayden Brown, Upwork (LSV #114)
- Julie Wainwright, founder of TheRealReal (LSV #118)
- Jennifer Tejada, PagerDuty (LSV #144)
- Ann Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe (LSV#148)
The real winners — founder-CEOs flourish in the Silicon Valley 150
The Silicon Valley continues to be committed to Founder CEOs. When we started our analysis of the SV150 in 2014, there were 38 companies being led by Founder CEOs. Today, that number has grown to an all-time high of 59. Of these, 49 also claimed the role of Chairperson of the Board.
Of the 59 Founder CEOs, 32 also enjoy the enhanced control over the enterprise afforded by dual class stock structures, in which insiders own voting stock with voting rights multiples over the company’s regular stock (the multiple is usually ten to one). This means in questions of board membership, acquisition, CEO selection, and strategic direction, the CEO most likely has the voting power to decide issues even without the support of other shareholders/board members.
Founder Job Security
Not surprisingly, all SV150 Founder CEOs enjoy high job security. Over the time period 2014 to 2022, when an SV150 founder-led company was still on our list, the Founder CEO enjoyed 86% job security: almost none of them had moved on. And if they had moved on, it was often to the role of “Executive Chairman.”
For non founder-led companies from 2014, the CEO from 2014 had been replaced 63% of the time.
Amplify the vote — founder-led IPOs hang onto “super-stock” voting structures
According to Jay Ritter of the University of Florida, 54 tech companies in the US went public in 2021 using dual class stock structures. Companies with this type of structure have a separate“super-vote” class of stock typically controlled by insiders only, and are very popular in the tech world.
This year the number of Lonergan SV150 companies utilizing a dual class stock ownership (DCSO) structure climbed from 29 to 37. This growth is a function of its popularity with new IPO CEO-founders. Nearly three-quarters of the new IPOs that hit the list this year employ a DCSO structure, and all but one are founder-led.
Newly public companies using DCSO (12 of 17)
- AppLovin (LSV #53) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Adam Firoughi
- Roblox (LSV #63) direct listing 2021 under CEO-founder David Baszucki
- Robinhood (LSV #66) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Vlad Tenev
- Marqeta (LSV #119) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Jason Gardner
- Confluent (LSV#126) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Jay Kreps
- NerdWallet (LSV#129) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Tim Chen
- Freshworks (LSV#132) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Rathna Mathrubootham
- HashiCorp (LSV#141) IPO 2021 under CEO David McJannet (not called founder)
- Hims & Hers Health (LSV#144) SPAC 2021 under CEO-founder Andrew Dudem
- thredUP (LSV#146) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder James Reinhart
- GitLab (LSV#145) IPO 2021 under CEO-founder Systse Sijbrandij
- 23andMe (LSV#147) SPAC 2021 under CEO-founder Ann Wojcicki
By contrast, just one of the CEOs at recent IPOs NOT employing a DCSO structure was called a founder.
Newly public companies not using DCSO (5 of 17)
- Informatica (LSV #75) IPO 2021 under CEO Amit Walia
- Udemy (LSV #111) IPO 2021 under CEO Gregg Cocari
- Samsara (LSV #122) IPO 20221 under CEO-founder Sanjit Biswas
- Coursera (LSV#123) IPO 2021 under CEO Jeffrey Maggioncalda
- ChargePoint (LSV#149) SPAC 2021 under CEO Pasquale Romano
Note: In cases where a newly public company has not published a full Proxy statement, the source for DCSO status comes from press releases and other media coverage
The core popularity of DCSO derives from how it enables founders to stay in control, something that can be a bit more problematic when tech companies go public with a structure of “one share-one vote.”
Of the 37 companies on the LSV150 with DCSO structures, 32 (86%) have founders in the role of CEO. The DCSO companies with non-founder CEOs are Alphabet (LSV#2) with CEO Sundar Pichai; Bio-Rad (LSV#50) with CEO Norman Schwarz who is a family member of the founders; Stitch Fix (LSV#57) with CEO Elizabeth Spaulding; Dolby Labs (LSV#82) with CEO Kevin Yeaman; and HashiCorp (LSV#141) with CEO David McJannet.