- Rebecca Cook/Reuters
- The governing boards of trucking companies have “generally low” gender diversity, according to a new Morgan Stanley report.
- That’s one of the environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) trends that Morgan Stanley says could threaten the trucking industry.
- The average trucking company in Morgan Stanley’s report had a corporate governance board gender-inclusivity rate of 18%. Women comprised 25% of Fortune 100 corporate boards in 2018. Women comprise 50.8% of the US working population.
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The governing boards of trucking companies have “generally low” diversity, according to a new Morgan Stanley report.
The average trucking company in Morgan Stanley’s report had a corporate governance board gender-inclusivity rate of 18%, according to 2018 data.
That’s less than the gender inclusivity seen at other large public firms. Women made up 25% of Fortune 100 corporate boards in 2018, and 22.5% of Fortune 500 boards. Freight as a whole – which includes trucking, rail, parcel, intermodal, and third-party logistics – sits at 23.5%, Morgan Stanley said.
And all of those numbers still fall beneath the percentage of women in the US working population – 50.8%, according to the US Census.
The 35-page report detailed the environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) trends that Morgan Stanley says could threaten the freight industry in coming years.
“Many of the ESG themes discussed in the team’s report – whether it be efforts to curb emissions, or stricter labor regulations – are certainly risks that the industry faces,” Mark Savino, equity strategist on Morgan Stanley’s global sustainability research team, told Business Insider in an email.
Still, not each company will be as affected by these risks.
“However, it’s important to make the distinction that these issues won’t impact all companies equally, and better management against these risks can create points of differentiation,” Savino added. “For example, the team highlighted that stricter emissions regulations, while a risk for some companies, could benefit large, well-capitalized TL companies as a result of likely supply rationalization of smaller competitors and operating cost savings.”
The bank also declined to comment on how a lack of women on corporate boards would affect the trucking industry.
Academic research has suggested that more women in the boardroom results in better investment and M&A decision-making and stronger accounting returns and financial monitoring. In Norway, where women are now required to comprise 40% of corporate boards, researchers have found that women on corporate boards are “more likely than their male counterparts to probe deeply into the issues at hand.”
However, investors tend to punish gender-inclusive boardrooms. A 2019 paper from INSEAD suggests that investors shy away from companies that appoint more women to their corporate boards, because they view such hires as a sign that the company is not dedicated to maximizing shareholder value.
Here are the trucking companies Morgan Stanley covers, what percent of their boards were women in 2018, and what the companies say about the gender breakdown
- Schneider National – 20% women (above trucking average, but below Fortune 500 average). “Our history has taught us that treating everyone with dignity and embracing diversity of thought, experience and background is vital to our ongoing success,” a Schneider representative told Business Insider. “We are passionate about continuous improvement in all areas of our business, and we will continue to advance diversity in leadership roles throughout the company.”
- Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings – 25% women, as of 2020 (above trucking average and Fortune 500 average). A Knight-Swift representative had no comment beyond providing updated numbers.
- Heartland Express – 28.6% women (above trucking and Fortune 500 average). “Those two individuals on our board are outstanding – and they just happen to be female,” CEO Michael Gerdin told Business Insider. “We’re happy to have them both on our board.”
- Werner Enterprises – 11.1% women (below trucking and Fortune 500 average). A representative declined to comment.
- U.S. Xpress – 12.5% women (below trucking and Fortune 500 average). “We’re actively searching to fill more board seats, and diversity is one of the criteria we’re using to evaluate options,” chief brand officer Danna Bailey told Business Insider.
- Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. – 10% women (below trucking and Fortune 500 average). A representative declined to comment.
- ArcBest Corp. – 33.3% women (above trucking and Fortune 500 average). “ArcBest is proud of its board diversity with three women directors, including chairman, president and CEO Judy R. McReynolds,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “Each of the women directors have a specific skill set that enhances our board’s ability to help the company navigate the changing industry and we believe there are many opportunities for women who choose to make their career in transportation and logistics.”
- Saia, Inc. – 10% (below trucking and Fortune 500 average). Saia did not respond to Business Insider requests for inquiry.