Minorities Lose Ground in Big Corporate Boardrooms

Allison Linn, Lifeinc., May 3, 2011


The 2010 Alliance for Board Diversity Census, released this week, found that as of last year white men made up 72.9 percent of board members at the nation’s 100 largest companies, up from 71.2 percent in 2004, when the board last analyzed the data.

When the board expanded the census to look at the nation’s 500 largest companies by revenue, the results were even less diverse: white men held about 77 percent of board seats.

The remaining seats were held by white women (13 percent), minority men (7 percent) and minority women (3 percent), based on public documents provided by the Fortune 500 companies in filings.

Those involved in the study said they had expected to see the corporate boards grow more diverse, rather than less, over the six-year period.


Donald [Arnold Donald, president and CEO of a professional network of black executives] said he suspects that one reason for the lack of progress is that regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, have left many companies eager to recruit retired financial executives to their boards, and that is likely to be a less diverse group. He also said some African-American board members may have retired and not been replaced by new minority board members.

The recession also may have played a role, in part because many companies found themselves focused on issues other than diversity, said Ilene Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst, which seeks to advance women’s roles in the workplace, and the chair of the Alliance for Board Diversity. {snip}

Among the Fortune 100 companies, women made slight boardroom gains during the six-year period studied, while African-American men lost ground. A full list of Fortune 500 companies is available here.


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11 Responses to “Minorities Lose Ground in Big Corporate Boardrooms” Subscribe

  1. whiteraven May 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    “Minorities Lose Ground in Big Corporate Boardrooms”

    The AA gimmies were bountiful during boom times. Now that the economy is slowly sinking in the West there’s no more extra dollars to pay for token blacks that find it difficult to add and subtract.

  2. Madison Grant May 4, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    To whiteraven (#1):

    The article echoed your comments: since the recession money has grown tighter and companies have less $ to hire useless tokens as window dressing.

    As a result, they’ve instead hired whites because they’re (gasp!) actually qualified for the job.

  3. Anonymous May 5, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    “The 2010 Alliance for Board Diversity Census…”


    This dismal article has served one very great and useful purpose for me.

    I finally know what America actually PRODUCES every year, in lieu of products.


    OK, I was stupefied that a nation of 300 million- plus seemed to be existing without jobs, or the hopes of such.

    But now I know what purpose we serve.

    All is good now.

  4. Sunnyvale Sal May 5, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    Must be the lures of Academia and “civil service”. The pay may be a little lower, but the work is less stressful and one’s fellows are more likely to be impressed with the wonders a person of color brings.

  5. SavetheWest May 5, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Corporate gains in financials over the last ten years have been nothing less than obscene. Espwcially in petroleum, services, defense (an obvious choice), & until three years ago, real estate. With that being said, who took the brunt of blame for the subprime disaster? White corporate American bankers, justifiably to a point. But there was also a high percentage of blacks who knew they couldn’t afford the loans, but did it anyway. Knowing that fact, if you worked for a corp that was villified for obscene profits, and criticized by minority-rights groups, human nature says you wouldn’t want to hire someone who looks like the vocal people chastizing you. Fair or unfair.

  6. underflow May 5, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Well, as the U.S. descends into something that will become bankruptcy soon, it will speed up the inevitable decline from First World to Second World-/Third world+ status.

    This will initially mean that only the competent will be able to work: i.e. Western/Northern Whites, Jews, East Asians and a few Indians here and there.

    As these ever declining – and highly productive – minorities continue to bear the burden for the large, violent and insufferable Third World masses that have been imported, the writing will increasingly be seen on the wall by more and more people.

    The Dream has failed. Multiculturalism will be dead too, but not just the theory but the fact of many people from different backgrounds living in the same space will be declared dead too.

    And then? What do you do with 100+ million people unable to contribute, with more and more of them reduced to petty criminals as order breaks down and increasingly it becomes clear that America as we once knew it has been long dead and a new, uncertain time is ushered in where how you look can be the deadliest thing.

  7. sbuffalonative May 5, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    The rule is: Once you go black, you’re not allowed to go back.

    Businesses were guilted into giving minority jobs in order to appear diverse and inclusive, as per the PC paradigm.

    As others have noted, diversity was ok as long as it shut up the critics and businesses had the financial leeway to hire a few affirmative action employees. Businesses can’t afford affirmative action losses when some are struggling to get by.

  8. ice May 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    6 — underflow wrote at 9:09 AM on May 5:

    “Well, as the U.S. descends into something that will become bankruptcy soon, it will speed up the inevitable decline from First World to Second World-/Third world+ status.


    “As these ever declining – and highly productive – minorities continue to bear the burden for the large, violent and insufferable Third World masses that have been imported, the writing will increasingly be seen on the wall by more and more people.”

    Yes, and when conditions get to the point where chaos is the order of the day, human instinct will dominate within the masses and tribal loyalties and interests will be accepted as natural.

    Only then will most all whites finally recognize that such common sense logic was recognized by only the right and that social engineering was the work of abject fools, who, hopefully, will be tried as perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

  9. Anonymous May 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I’m going to go with simple statistics.

    Black Males and Females ‘of an age’ to (if we were all equal) have the leadership experience and social contacts useful for a given boardroom/negotiative leveraging role probably form less than one half of a percentage point of a population which itself numbers less than 14% of the total U.S. population.

    Say 36 million X .005.

    That comes up to some 180,000 black professionals in the right 40-60, .5 to 5 million dollar (personal) wealth category to be invited in to ‘meet the diversity quota’.

    Many of whom will have been snapped up long ago by government services and related (AA guaranteed) fields which are far more gracious in their coverage perks and job security.

    Now throw in competition from genuinely competent (if no less unscrupulous and corrupt) Indian, Chinese and other Eastern Asian ‘wannahaves’ (growth market resources) and you have a serious problem for blacks competing in a job field where professionals measure their life success by individual yearly P&E ratios in the high six figures and there are very few also-rans.

    Because your call list is your trading value and blacks, by and large, only trade up, not across. They are not equal.

  10. ATBOTL May 6, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    This is nothing to cheer about. Corporate executives as a group have similar views on race and immigration as sociolgy professors. You would be hard pressed to find a group of white men who have done more harm to our race than these people.

  11. Lee May 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Key point, this study is talking about a company’s BOARD of DIRECTORS, who are elected by the stockholders. The majority of a company’s stock is owned by large stakeholders and groups such as pension funds, mutual funds, etc. These groups are focused on the bottom line and do not have an inclination for foolishness such as “diversity of the Board”.