A study conducted by the Alliance for Board Diversity shows that the number of women and minorities in corporate boardrooms in America has decreased.
Between 2004 and 2010, white men have increased their representation on boards of American companies from 71.2 percent to 72.9 percent, according to the study. White males also added over 30 board seats, while African-Americans lost more than 40. African-American men hold 4.2 percent of board seats, African-American women 2.1 percent, Hispanic men 3.1 percent and Hispanic women hold 0.9 percent of board seats.
According to the study, boards at Fortune 500 companies were even less diverse than Fortune 100 boards: White males held 94.9 percent of board chair positions in 2010, and there was not one Latina lead director or chair.
Research has revealed that diverse teams produce better results. On average, companies with more diverse boards are linked with better financial performance. “With so many qualified women and minority candidates available for board service, it is staggering to find that no real progress has been made in the past six years to advance minorities and women into the boardroom,” said Ilene H. Lang, chair of the Alliance for Board Diversity.
Arnold W. Donald, the president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council concurred, saying, “It is troubling [that] groups already severely underrepresented on corporate boards have collectively experienced a decline over the last six years.” The ELC is an independent corporation whose members are African-American senior executives of Fortune 500 companies and equivalents. Recently the ELC began an initiative to identify and offer development opportunities to members who are “board ready” to take on the responsibilities of a corporate board seat.