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Endeavor’s Board of Directors Is All Male – and That Needs to Change if the Company Goes Public

New California law requires publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on the board by the end of 2019

Endeavor filed its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, cementing the company’s plans to go public — while at the same time revealing a dearth of female decision-makers in the company’s highest ranks.

Of the four board members — and one nominee — listed in Endeavor’s filing for an initial public offering, which is estimated to raise more than $500 million, there are no women present.

Egon Durban, who is a managing partner and managing director at private equity firm Silver Lake, serves as chairman of Endeavor’s board. He became a board member in 2012 when Silver Lake invested $200 million in Endeavor for a 31% minority stake in the company.

In addition to Durban, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel sits on the board, along with Endeavor executive chairman Patrick Whitesell and Stephen Evans, also a managing director at Silver Lake. The company has nominated former AT&T executive James Kahan to join the board.

The lack of women on Endeavor’s board won’t prevent it from going public on the New York Stock Exchange, as planned, but a new California law requires any publicly traded company incorporated in the state to have at least one woman on its board by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, that requirement goes up to two women if the company has five directors (as would be the case for Endeavor if Kahan is approved) and three women if the board has six or more directors.

“Numerous independent studies have concluded that publicly held companies perform better when women serve on their boards of directors,” the bill, which was passed in September of last year, reads. “More women directors serving on boards of directors of publicly held corporations will boost the California economy, improve opportunities for women in the workplace… Yet studies predict that it will take 40 or 50 years to achieve gender parity, if something is not done proactively.”

Last year, women still held just 22.5% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, according to the Alliance for Board Diversity and Deloitte, and minority women held 4.6% of Fortune 500 board seats.

A broader look at Endeavor’s management shows that, of the seven executive officers named in the company’s IPO filing, only one, Kerry Chandler, is a woman. Chandler has served as the company’s chief human resources officer since December, coming over from Under Armour, where she fulfilled the same role.

Endeavor is home to one of Hollywood’s premiere talent agencies, WME, which represents the likes of Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Amy Adams and Gal Gadot. The company has positioned itself as a power player in the industry, generating $3.61 billion in revenue in 2018, with net income of $231.30 million. The company owns Ultimate Fighting Championship, IMG and the Miss Universe Pageant, and said in its filing that as of March 31 it had $499.71 million in cash as well as $9.89 billion in total assets.

Endeavor’s lack of representation in the boardroom stands in contrast to a time in Hollywood where more people are pushing for gender equality in the shadow of the #MeToo movement.

In a letter included in the filing, Emanuel said that “embracing diversity, inclusion and equality across our platform — content, clients and employees” will be important to the company as it moves to become a public entity.

The company also said in its filing that it intends to add a second independent director within 90 days after the IPO and a third within a year after the closing. The company did not specify any preference to appointing female or male directors.