Lessons in Director Recruitment From Allete

At the annual meeting of Duluth (Minn.)-based utility Allete, 78-year-old Mavis Whiteman, a retired teacher and company shareholder for more than 20 years, took the floor to commend the company for nominating four female board members. The subsequent election of a fourth female director brought the proportion of women on Allete's (ALE) 12-person board to one-third. That figure stands in sharp contrast to the average share among Fortune 500 companies, whose female directors hold only 15 percent of board seats, according to recent Catalyst data . What makes Allete's boardroom gender balance even more noteworthy is the fact that the company operates in an industry still largely dominated by male executives.

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