Legg Mason adds two more women to its board of directors as it increases diversity

Legg Mason has made its board of directors one of the most gender-diverse among Baltimore-area public companies with the appointment of two more women.

The Baltimore-based money management firm appointed venture capitalist Michelle Goldberg and industry veteran Alison Quirk to its board, where they will join two other women on a 10-person board.

Goldberg and Quirk replace Tianqiao Chen and Robert Chiu, who resigned in October after eight months on the board.

After Shanda Group became Legg’s largest shareholder in early 2016 following the buyout of activist investor Nelson Peltz’s stake, Chen, CEO of the Singapore-based investment firm, and Chiu, the company's president, joined the board earlier this year. But in June, Shanda sold nearly half its shares in a private sale.

The addition of Goldberg and Quirk to Legg Mason’s board means it has as many women directors as T. Rowe Price Group, the other big Baltimore-based money manager — though 40 percent of Legg’s board is now female, compared with nearly 31 percent of T. Rowe Price’s 13-person board.

"We are pleased to expand the experience of our Board as we execute on our strategy of expanding client choice,” Joseph A. Sullivan, Legg Mason’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Different perspectives and backgrounds on the Board will be critical as we build the culture of innovation that will help drive Legg Mason's future success.”

Other Baltimore companies don’t have similar representation. Three of McCormick & Co.’s 12 directors are women. Under Armour, Colfax, COPT and W.R. Grace each have two women directors. Ciena, Laureate Education, Medifast and Omega Healthcare Investors have one each and Sinclair Broadcast Group has none.

In 2015, the 2020 Women on Boards movement found that 17.9 percent of corporate directors at Fortune 1000 companies were women. The organization aims to boost that to at least 20 percent by 2020.

Research has shown that companies with more gender and racial diversity on their boards tend to perform better financially and see less corruption, fraud and shareholder fights.

Legg Mason is also adding depth to its board with Goldberg and Quirk.

Goldberg is a partner at Ignition Partners, a West Coast-based early stage, technology venture capital firm, and a venture partner at SoGal Ventures, a female-led firm investing in lifestyle and health.

“Michelle's experience with investing in technology companies will be invaluable to our efforts to harness technology to better serve our clients,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Quirk retired earlier this year from State Street Corp., a Boston-based global financial services firm, where she was a member of the management committee and executive vice president of global human resources.

“Alison's deep background in managing human capital at one of the world's largest financial services firms will serve us well as we invest in our people and create the workforce of the future,” Sullivan said in a statement.

cdinsmore@baltsun.com

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