Rich Warren Buffett is a billionaire and a billionaire’s billionaire.
His company, Buffett’s Vanguard, has grown to become one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, and he is a man of immense influence.
But he also is a woman.
“You can’t be the most powerful man in the world if you’re a woman,” said Barbara Fidler, a Harvard law professor who has studied the way women are treated in corporate America.
She’s been following the company closely since its founding, and she’s also worried about the growing scrutiny of its compensation and board structure.
“If he is making millions, and they’re paying him a lot, how is it that he can’t say, ‘I’m the most important woman in the company?'”
“I’m not surprised, because it’s been happening for years.”
Billionaire Warren Buffet’s Vanguard is a public company.
But its chief executive officer is a single woman.
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, said in an interview that he and his wife, Ann, had never discussed the gender gap on the board of the company.
In a statement, the company said that the chief executive of Vanguard was hired “for his expertise, and that is why he has been hired by the company.”
The company has faced criticism from activists and business groups, including the Center for American Progress, who have questioned the way it handles compensation.
The organization has also accused the company of discriminating against female employees.
In a letter to the company in August, the group asked for more information about the compensation of the chief and five other board members, including its executive chairman.
The letter also requested information about what happens to the compensation packages of the remaining five directors and the compensation package of the CEO, a statement from the group said.
Fidler said she has also begun to investigate the gender disparity in Vanguard’s board.
I’m very concerned that the pay disparity at Vanguard is not reflected in the board, which has only one woman, and the board is stacked in favor of men,” she said.
In December, she and a colleague wrote a letter asking the company to “investigate and explain why the board has been made up so heavily in favor on women and in favor toward men.”
Vanguard declined to comment.
Warren Buffett has long been a staunch supporter of women in the workplace.
He has given $1.5 billion to women’s causes, and his Berkshire Hathaway shares have gone up more than 80 percent since the beginning of the year.
He is a philanthropist, too, donating $1 billion in 2015 to various charities, including $1 million to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund.
The company also said that it has committed $300 million to gender equity research.
At the beginning, Vanguard said it had a “one-to-one” gender ratio of more than 90 percent.
But the company’s board has since changed, and now has two women.
But the compensation data also raises some troubling questions.
One example of the discrepancy between male and female compensation, Fidlers team said, was the fact that while the average compensation for Vanguard’s four women board members was $5.5 million, the average for the men was $10 million.
That means the men’s paychecks were worth far less than the women’s.
Another example is the fact the average salary for the top-paid female board member was $1,084,000, while the men made $1 Million.
That discrepancy raises questions about whether the compensation disparities at Vanguard are a result of discrimination, said Fidlings team, which also included Jennifer Doudna, an associate professor of law at Rutgers University and an expert on corporate boards.
That said, Fadler said the board should be made up of people who have the “core competence and the temperament to manage and manage well,” like a CEO, she said, not people who “are either paid less than they’re worth or are doing something that’s a little bit outside the norm.”
In another example, the team said that since the start of 2015, Vanguard has been paying out a “significant portion of its board members’ compensation with a salary that is a fraction of their pay in the other sectors of the economy.”
That raises a question about whether it’s the “right pay for the right job,” said Fadlers team.
It’s a question that will likely come up in the next round of board meetings, Fiddlers team added.