Report: Nearly 1/3 of Top U.S. Corporations Have No Black Directors
8/11/2014, 4:07 p.m.
Black Enterprise has released its latest exclusive report on African-American representation on the corporate boards of 250 of America's largest publicly traded companies today on BlackEnterprise.com. In its second annual report focused on African-American representation of corporate boards, the media company identifies 176 African-American directors at S&P 250 largest companies, including American Express, Wal-Mart, Xerox and Carnival Corporation, on the Black Enterprise Registry of Corporate Directors. In addition, the report reveals 74 companies with no African-American representation among their boards of directors.
The report spotlights prominent African-American directors including Black Enterprise 2014 Corporate Executive of the Year Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. and an ExxonMobil Corp. director; Ariel Investments L.L.C. Chairman and CEO John Rogers, who serves on the boards of McDonald's and Exelon; and American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault, who serves on the boards of AMEX, IBM, and P&G ; among others.
The registry is drawn from the 250 largest companies on the S&P 500 based on market capitalization as of May 16, 2014. The Black Enterprise research team compiled the listing by reviewing proxy statements and annual reports, as well as contacting investor relations departments, corporate governance experts, and organizations such as the Black Corporate Directors Conference and Executive Leadership Council (ELC); the latter is a network of the nation's most highly ranked African-American corporate executives. As such, 74, or 29.6 percent, refused to consider such representatives. That figure is virtually unchanged from the 2013 report.
"At a time when there is a surplus of black executive talent with sterling professional credentials and reputations for unmatched performance at the highest levels, an overwhelming number of boards of publicly traded companies still lock African-Americans out of the boardroom," said Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., CEO and president of Black Enterprise. "By denying African-Americans access to a seat at the table, they have made a detestable statement that they seek to maintain these preserves of white male privilege and dominance.
"Corporate directors govern the policies of CEOs and C-suite executives, ensuring senior management is accountable for a corporation's hiring and promotion practices; billion-dollar spending decisions regarding suppliers, including media; and contributions to philanthropic organizations and causes, among other matters," Graves added. "So if African-Americans are not represented on a given board, it becomes highly unlikely that African-Americans will be given fair consideration when that company selects senior managers, including CEO, CFO, and chief administrative officer positions; identifies Tier 1 or Tier 2 suppliers to provide the array of products and services-from legal and IT consulting to construction and advertising-that corporations purchase on an annual basis; and funds black-oriented civic organizations, community development efforts, and educational programs."
The registry and report can be found at BlackEnterprise.com via the following link: http://www.BlackEnterprise.com/black-corporate-directors/
The report, "Power in the Boardroom," is also featured as the cover story in the July-August 2014 issue of Black Enterprise magazine. Social media content and conversation around African-American directors on corporate boards can be found via the hash tag #BlacksOnBoards on Twitter and other social media sites.
Black Enterprise reports that corporate boards have become less diverse over the past several years. According to a report from the Alliance of Board Diversity, in 2012 white men held 75 percent of board seats on the 500 largest publicly traded companies, versus 5.5 percent for African-American men and 1.9 percent for African-American women. Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the civil rights group Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is among the those challenging the lack of board diversity, taking aim at Silicon Valley tech companies, and pressing top management on the subject.