Philadelphia’s 100 largest public companies brought on a few more women to their boards of directors in 2018, making marginal progress over last year, according to the Forum of Executive Women’s annual report.
Twelve of Philly’s largest publicly traded companies had no women on the board, down from 35 companies five years ago, according to the Women in Leadership report, released Thursday.
Philly companies without any women on their board as of 2018 regulatory filings were BrightView Holdings, CrossAmerica Partners, Ditech Holding, Falcon Minerals, Gaming & Leisure Properties, inTEST, J&J Snack Foods, Lannett Co., Marlin Business Services, Mistras Group, Omega Flex, and RCM Technologies.
Compiled with accounting and audit firm PwC, the Forum of Executive Women’s annual ranking charts the progress of women who have joined Philly’s corporate boards, as well as the number of women in the C-suites and among companies’ top earners.
“There was progress,” said forum president Lisa Detwiler, whose full-time position is general counsel and chief compliance officer at FS Investments, headquartered in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. “We saw an increase in the number of board seats held by women and companies championing board diversity.”
The forum has dubbed public companies with 30% or more women on their board of directors as “champions of board diversity.” In 2018, there were 17 such companies, among the 100 companies that the report covered, up from 12 in the prior year.
“The report itself is a great rallying cry, and for the forum and women in the region to act and to apply for board seats,” Detwiler said. “Where we need progress is female CEOs and among the top earners at public companies."
Detwiler’s employer, FS Investments, is a holding company for a publicly traded fund, FS KKR Capital Corp., which was among those companies that added a woman to the board in 2018. FS KKR added Barbara Adams as an independent director.
Other companies that added their first female board member in 2018 included Entercom Communications, Essent Group, Oritani Financial, and PREIT, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.
The Forum is working closely with headhunters to identify open board seats, identify what type of board member is needed, and which women from the Forum of Executive Women fit the bill, said Deborah Epstein Henry, who will succeed Detwiler as president of the forum in a few years.
Since the final date of the 2018 Forum of Executive Women report, some Philly companies have added women to their boards of directors.
In April, BrightView Holdings appointed two women as independent directors on the board of the Plymouth Meeting commercial landscaping company.
Jane Okun Bomba and Mara Swan joined as independent members of BrightView’s board, expanding its size to eight members, four of whom are independent. From 2004 to 2017, Bomba was an executive at IHS Markit, and before that headed investor relations at Velocom, MediaOne Group, and Northwest Airlines. Swan has been an executive at ManpowerGroup since 2009. Before ManpowerGroup, Swan was at MolsonCoors and held several leadership roles at Miller Brewing.
Lannett in May appointed Melissa V. Rewolinski to its board of directors, effective July 1, bringing the number of board seats to eight.
“Melissa brings to our board deep strategic insight, scientific expertise, and operational experience, having served for more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry,” Tim Crew, chief executive officer of Lannett, said in a news release. “Her extensive experience in the area of drug development, from the clinical stage through regulatory approval, includes stints at such leading pharmaceutical firms as Pfizer, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Amira Pharmaceuticals, and Intercept Pharmaceuticals.”
Lannett develops, manufactures, packages, markets, and distributes generic pharmaceuticals.
In May, Mistras Group appointed Michelle J. Lohmeier as a director on the board. She is senior adviser to the chief executive officer of Spirit AeroStructures, having recently retired from her position as senior vice president and general manager of Airbus Programs at Spirit AeroStructures, a position she held since June 2015. Lohmeier also held senior positions at Raytheon.