Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Study shows women and minorities on boardrooms lacking


SEPTEMBER 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Study shows women and minorities on boardrooms lacking


REGION, August 16th- According to a study released on August 15th women and minorities have made no real gains in the boardrooms of corporate America.

The Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) reported the study findings. The ABD is a Washington DC based organization. The four groups affiliated with the ABD are: the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibilty (HACR), Catalyst, and the Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP). The Prout Group, Inc., an executive search firm, is a founding partner of the ABD and serves as advisor and facilitator.

According to the report, “Missing Pieces: Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, 2012 Alliance for Board Diversity Census in the Forune 100″, women and minorities remain vastly underrepresented at the decision-making tables of corporate boardrooms, with white men comprising nearly 70 percent of the 1,214 seats on boardrooms.

The trend is similar in the Fortune 500 with white men accounting for 73.3 percent of the total 5,488 board seats. Overall, there have been only small gains in boardroom representation since the first ABD census of Fortune 100 board directors in 2004.

“We continue to find the research troubling because the ABD believes in the business proposition that when diversity leads, business succeeds. We know that in order to sustain long-term success, companies must continually create new ideas and solutions,” stated ELC President and CEO Ronald Parker.

“This innovation is driven by diversity of thinking at every level of the organization, especially within senior leadership teams and in the boardroom. Women and minorities are an important part of that equation,” continued Mr. Parker.

The study indicates that women and minorities also continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles in corporate boardrooms. Among the five major categories assessed; Board Chair, Lead Director, Audit Committee Chair, Nomination/Governance Committee Chair, and Compensation Committee Chair, women and minority men experienced small increases in leadership positions on boards. Minority women were the only group that did not make any gains in leadership positions.

According to the ABD, the challenge to board diversity is not the supply side. There are more qualified women and minority executives than ever before for board positions at Fortune 500 companies.

In collecting their data for the study, the ABD utilized a Census methodology that counts Fortune 500 board directors to provide an accurate measurement of their representation and progress of women and minorities, allowing comparable statistics year-to-year. The Alliance for Board Diversity analyses companies on the Fortune 500 list, which is published annually.