The underrepresentation of people of color and women is especially bleak in the highest echelon of corporate America: boards of directors.
Despite years of company-sponsored diversity programs and the proliferation of pledges by corporate America—especially in light of the recent social unrest, racial injustice, and the pandemic—the number of African Americans and people of color in the board room and C-suites remain slim and grim. Here’s just a snapshot of the numbers.
DECLINING PERFORMANCE IN DIVERSITY & INCLUSION – There are only three (3) Black CEOs among the Fortune 500:
- Kenneth Frazier, Merck
- Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s
- Roger Ferguson, TIAA CREF
(source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
BLACK EXECUTIVES IN CORPORATE LEADERSHIP - Black executives account for less than 3% of senior leadership positions among the S&P and Fortune 500.
(Source: Executive leadership Council)
AFRICAN AMERICANS SIGNIFICANTLY UNDER-REPRESENTED ON BOARDS OF DIRECTORS – There are only 21 Black members on the Boards of the S&P 500 out of more than 4000 directors. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of these companies do not have a single Black board member.
(Source: Black Enterprise Magazine)
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION ARE A CORE ELEMENT OF THE CORPORATE ESG RATING, AN IMPORTANT DETERMINANT OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE
(Source: Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance)
Lack of Accountability Among Leading Corporations on Diversity
Many Fortune 500 companies have yet to prioritize diversity and inclusion as a core element of their value proposition. This has resulted in limited progress for both Leadership and Board appointments. Less than 1% of the Fortune 500 have Black CEOs, while only 8% of Directors on corporate Boards are black.
(Source: Executive Leadership Council)
Limited Growth Among Individual Demographic Groups
While Fortune 100 companies show remarkable gains in leadership diversity, representation of African American Men in senior leadership is lower than other demographic sub-groups in the Fortune 1000.
(source: Black Enterprise)
African American Women in Leadership & Governance
African American women on governing Boards have increased at a rate of 31% over the past 5 years, while African American men have grown 1%. Still, black men represent a larger presence on boards than black women. And only two black women have led an S&P or Fortune 500 company: Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, and Mary Winston, Interim CEO of Bed, Bath & Beyond.
(source: The Conference Board)
Actionable Steps: From Protest to Policy
More than half of the Fortune 500 have committed to reexamine their efforts in diversity and inclusion as a result of recent global protests demanding racial equity.
(source: National Urban League)
Minorities in Corporate Governance
Fortune 500 Board Census 2018 Gender/Min Group: Min Women-4.6% Min Men-11.5% White Wom-18% White Men-66% Race/Ethnicity: Asian-3.7%. Hispanic-3.8% African Amer 8.6% White 84%
(source: Deloitte & Touché)
Appointments of Woman in Governance Exceeds other Sub-Groups
While there are 38 Women of Color who lead companies as CEOs in the Fortune 500, none of them are Black. Over the past five years, White women serving on Boards of Directors of Fortune 500 companies grew 22%, while Asian women are the runaway favorites showing a 46% percent increase as new board appointments.
(Source: Deloitte & Touché).
U.S. Corporations & States Require Diversity in Governance
The states of California and Washington in addition to many European companies, now require that publicly held companies include women on their governing boards. Goldman Sachs has established a policy to not take a company public without diversity in its governance.
(source: Wall Street Journal)
Many Leading Technology Giants Have No Blacks in Governance:
They include: Cisco, Oracle, Dell and Intuit.
(source: Harvard Univ Legal Forum on Governance)
Name Recognizable Companies Without a Single Black Board Member
A total of 190 companies in the S&P have no Black board members (2019). They include the following firms: (source: S&P sample listing):
- Adobe Inc
- Advanced Auto Parts Advanced Micro
- Borg Warner
- Bristol Myers Squibb
- Campbell Soups
- Conoco Phillips
- E* Trade
- Emerson Electric
- Equifax Fluor
- Gap Inc.
- Hershey Foods
- Hilton Worldwide
- Kraft Heinz
- Phillips 66
- Procter & Gamble
- Ross Stores
- Universal Health
- Wynn Resorts