Amazon adds former Slack, Etsy director Edith Cooper to board

Edith Cooper. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon has added former Goldman Sachs exec Edith Cooper to its board of directors.

Cooper previously served on the board of Slack from January 2018 to this past July. She was also on the board of Etsy, an Amazon e-commerce rival, from April 2018 until this month.

We’ve reached out to Etsy for comment on Cooper’s departure from its board. She was still listed on the company’s investor website on Monday afternoon.

Cooper was the first Black woman to become a partner at Goldman Sachs and is co-founder of Medley, a new membership-based community for personal and professional growth. She’s the third Black woman to join Amazon’s board, following former Starbucks exec Rosalind Brewer, who left the board this year after taking a role as Walgreens CEO, and pharmaceutical executive Myrtle Potter, who served from 2004 to 2009.

Amazon currently has seven men and five women on its 12-member board. Andy Jassy joined the board in July after replacing Jeff Bezos as CEO.

Corporations are increasingly being called upon to boost board diversity. In 2018, facing an employee backlash and public criticism from Black and Hispanic members of Congress, Amazon adopted a new policy to consider “a slate of diverse candidates, including women and minorities” for future openings on its board. The company said at the time that it was merely formalizing its existing practice.

Amazon added two women of color to its board in 2019, with Brewer and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, who remains on the board.

Amazon’s other board directors are Bezos, who is executive chairman; Keith Alexander; Jamie Gorelick; Daniel Huttenlocher; Judith McGrath; Jonathan Rubinstein; Thomas Ryder; Patricia Stonesifer; and Wendell Weeks.

Cooper worked at Goldman Sachs for more than 25 years and led human capital management for the financial giant. She also joined the board of PepsiCo earlier this month and serves on the board of several non-profits, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Cooper on Monday was appointed to Amazon’s Leadership Development and Compensation Committee of the board. She was awarded with 285 shares of common stock as part of her election that will vest in three equal annual installments beginning Nov. 15, 2022. Shares of Amazon ended Monday at $3,355.73.

There are a number of ongoing efforts to increase the numbers of underrepresented populations on boards.

The Nasdaq stock exchange in August month received approval for new rules that encourage companies to appoint more diverse boards of directors. Companies listed on the U.S. exchange will be required to have two diverse directors: one who identifies as female and one who identifies as a racial or ethnic minority or as LGBTQ+. If it doesn’t meet that benchmark, a company will have to publicly disclose why not.

A recent analysis of 2,284 Nasdaq-listed companies suggests that many of them could fail to meet the new criteria. Some 37% of companies have no racially or ethnically diverse members, while 12% don’t have any female directors, according to ISS Corporate Solutions.

California last year approved laws requiring racial diversity on boards. Goldman Sachs has pledged to only underwrite IPOs of private companies that have at least two diverse directors.

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