Lack of diversity on boardrooms increasing despite Westminster push

Business Woman

The boardrooms of Britain’s biggest companies are becoming more dominated by white people despite business secretary Vince Cable demanding that firms increase their ethnic diversity.

All-white executive teams run 69% of FTSE 100 companies – up from 65% in February. The diminished ethnic diversity in the boardroom has emerged despite Cable calling on companies to ensure their executive teams better reflect the wider population.

In total 95% of FTSE 100 board directors are white, and there is not a single person of Chinese or east Asian origin on the board of any of Britain’s biggest companies. According to the ONS 14% of UK population is non-white.

There are just two black and two south Asian FTSE 100 chief executives according to research published on Monday by Green Park Executive Recruitment. The remaining 96 are all white. There are just two non-white FTSE 100 chairmen.

The Green Park research shows that 62% of FTSE 100 companies have all white boards, up from 61 in February. The diversity decreases further to 69% all-whites, when less important non-executive roles are stripped out, according to the Green Park Executive Recruitment report.

Cable, who led calls for companies to increase the number of women on their boards, has been campaigning for firms to hire more non-white directors. On Monday he called on FTSE 100 firms to ensure they recruit at least one non-white director by 2020.

“Black and ethnic minority representation on UK FTSE 100 boards is currently at around 5%, which is much lower than we would expect if the company boards reflected the population of this country,” he said. “I want us to extend the successful campaign we have led to increase female representation on FTSE 100 boards to tackle invisibility of ethnic minorities in Britain’s top companies.”

Cable had considered calling on companies to aim for 20% of directors to be drawn from ethic minorities by 2020, but the target was reduced after lobbying from the CBI and the Institute of Directors.

Cable has enlisted Sir John Parker, the City veteran and chairman of mining group Anglo American, Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and comedian Lenny Henry to front the 2020 Campaign.

“We know that businesses with diversity at their top are more successful. But diversity stretches beyond gender balance,” Cable said. “I am delighted that Trevor Phillips and Sir John have agreed to lead this business campaign which aims to end all white boards by 2020.

Henry said: “I’m delighted to be asked to support this campaign. I have made the point many times that in my own industry we are allowing some of our brightest talents to go abroad because of lack of opportunities here. We need to take advantage of our own talent – and that lesson is as important for business generally as it is for television and the creative industries.”

Corporate monoculture

Ethnicity of FTSE 100 chiefs

White 96

Black 2

South Asian 2

Chinese and east Asian 0

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Rupert Neate, for The Guardian on Monday 15th December 2014 00.02 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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