Uniting under the common goal of increasing representation of women and minorities on corporate boards, three leadership organizations—Catalyst, The Executive Leadership Council, and Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)—today announced their collaboration as the Alliance for Board Diversity and released the results of their first joint research, Women and Minorities on Fortune 100 Boards, which assesses diversity in the boardrooms of the Fortune 100 companies.
In sharing the results of this benchmark study, the Alliance for Board Diversity called attention to the business imperative for advancing inclusion on corporate boards. The report, which outlines the stark reality of today’s board membership, was compiled with assistance from The Prout Group, an executive search firm. Key findings include the following:
- There is a severe under-representation of women on boards. Just 16.9% of board seats in theFortune 100 are held by women.
- Racial and ethnic minorities are similarly under-represented. Only 14.9% of board seats areheld by a minority individual. Minority women fare worst of all, holding just 3% of board seats in the Fortune 100.
- Particularly low is representation of Hispanics, who hold 3.9% of board seats, and Asian-Americans, who hold just 1% of board seats.
- There is a recycling of the same minority individuals–-especially African-American men—on multiple boards. African-Americans hold an average 1.55 seats per person, as compared to Hispanics who hold an average 1.24 seats per person, white men who hold an average of 1.18 seats, white women who hold an average 1.16 seats, and Asian-Americans who hold an average of 1.09 seats per person.
- Very few Fortune 100 boards have representation from all groups, and in more than 60% of the boards surveyed, less than one-third of the seats are held by women or minorities.
Focusing on the strategic urgency for greater inclusion in corporate governance, the founding partners of the Alliance discussed how shareholder interests are best served when women and minorities are included on boards. “Good governance acknowledges the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and communities that businesses and organizations serve,” said Alfonso E. Martinez, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. “Having a diverse board sends a clear message to each of these groups.”
This marks a groundbreaking collaboration for the three organizations, all well-respected for their individual work in advancing workplace diversity and the business case for inclusive leadership in corporate America. “To remain competitive globally, the United States must recognize and embrace the power of inclusive leadership. We want to help companies make the case that diversity is as essential in the boardroom as it is in the executive suite,” said Carl Brooks, president of The Executive Leadership Council, an organization representing the most senior African-American corporate executives in Fortune 500 companies.
Most notably, Alliance for Board Diversity members are committed to providing referrals to companies seeking qualified executive women and minorities to serve on corporate boards. “Through our Alliance and our research, our individual organizations will better serve companies, helping them to become more aware of the talented women and minorities available to serve as directors,” said Ilene H. Lang, president of Catalyst, the leading nonprofit organization working to expand opportunities for women at work.
The Alliance for Board Diversity plans to track trends in boardroom diversity by conducting research to measure changes in the demographic makeup within Fortune 100 boards. At the same time, it will identify corporations that commit to the diversification of their own boardrooms and endorse the Alliance for Board Diversity mission, collectively or individually, via “signatory” status. The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is a key partner helping to advance the Alliance’s mission. The Alliance will continue to ally with and support like-minded organizations or individuals who are highlighting the issue of
boardroom diversity as a vital shareholder concern.
ALLIANCE FOR BOARD DIVERSITY MEMBERS
Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. As an independent, nonprofit membership organization, Catalyst uses a solutions-oriented approach that has earned the confidence of business leaders around the world. Catalyst conducts research on all aspects of women’s career advancement and provides strategic and web-based consulting services on a global basis to help companies and firms advance women and build inclusive work environments. In addition, we honor exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with our annual Catalyst Award.
Catalyst currently has 328 member corporations, professional firms, and nonprofit organizations. With offices in New York, San Jose, and Toronto, Catalyst is consistently ranked No. 1 among U.S. nonprofits focused on women’s issues by The American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information, please visit
www.catalystwomen.org, or call (212) 514-7600.
The Executive Leadership Council
The Executive Leadership Council is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit 501 (c) 6 corporation. It was founded in 1986 by 19 African-American corporate executive pioneers to fulfill a bold mission—change the face of corporate America by creating a support network and public leadership forum that prepares the next generation of African-American corporate executives, honors business chievements by African-Americans, encourages excellence in business, and influences public policy on behalf of African-Americans.
Today The Executive Leadership Council has more than 340 members, of whom one-third are women. Members represent more than 200 companies working to support The Executive Leadership Council’s initiatives and goals. For more information, please visit www.elcinfo.com, or call (202) 298-8226.
Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility is one of the most influential advocacy organizations in the nation representing 14 national Hispanic organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico. HACR’s mission is to ensure the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America at a level commensurate with our economic contributions.
HACR focuses on four areas of corporate behavior as indicators of corporate responsibility and market reciprocity: Procurement, Employment, Philanthropy, and Governance. For more information, please visit www.hacr.org, or call (202) 835-9672.
ALLIANCE FOR BOARD DIVERSITY KEY PARTNERS
National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)
Founded in 1977, the NACD is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated exclusively to serving the corporate governance needs of corporate boards and individual board members. NACD’s 15,500 members and customers represent companies ranging from Fortune 100 public companies to small, over-the-counter, closely held, and private firms.
NACD promotes high professional board standards, creates forums for peer interaction, enhances director effectiveness, communicates and monitors the policy interests of directors, conducts benchmarking research, and educates boards and directors concerning traditional and cutting-edge issues.
With almost three decades of corporate governance research and experience to draw from, NACD provides a seasoned, authoritative voice on corporate governance policy and practice. NACD also is a vital forum for peer interaction and exchange of best board practices. For more information, please visit
The Prout Group
The Prout Group is an executive search firm that places senior executives and board members for organizations across the United States. It holds the philosophy that leadership at all functional levels provides a powerful advantage in today's competitive marketplace. With the belief that diversity is a strategic business advantage, The Prout Group leverages its experience and resources in that space and is committed to presenting a diverse slate of candidates on all search assignments.
The Prout Group, Inc. is a member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) and is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). For more information, please visit www.proutgroup.com.
The Alliance for Board Diversity wishes to thank The Altria Group for sponsoring the data-gathering for this report.