Posted on February 24, 2023

People of Color Fill One Out of Five Corporate Board Seats for the First Time

Joseph De Avila, Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2023

Racial and ethnic minorities now hold 20% of all board seats at the nation’s largest public companies for the first time, according to a new study.

Black people have experienced some of the biggest gains, according to ISS Corporate Solutions Inc., an analytics firm that provides corporate governance data to companies and a unit of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. Black directors now hold 8.3% of all board seats, up from 4.4% four years ago.


Asian directors filled 7.2% of board seats while Hispanic directors held 3.6%, according to ICS. Directors of Middle Eastern or North African descent as well as Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian directors each occupy less than 1% of board seats.

The analysis shows the impact of investors pushing portfolio companies to diversify their boards, Ms. Kramer said. Some large institutional investors like BlackRock Inc., State Street Corp. and Fidelity Investments say they take boardroom diversity into account when making investments.

“I’ve always said that we will start to see progress once investors care about diversity,” said Shellye Archambeau, a Black woman who has been on Verizon Communications Inc.’s board since 2013. {snip}

Meanwhile, the number of board seats held by white directors fell by 9% during the period studied, ISS said. White people now occupy 79.9% of all directorships at the companies included in the analysis.

A separate analysis recently found that companies in the S&P 500 added more Black women to their boards in 12 months spanning 2021 and 2022 than in any similar period in at least the past 15 years.