Visit this section regularly to keep up with the latest news on African-American Board news. It includes content on new appointments, the latest studies/trends and thought provoking content on why the average person should care about the lack of African-Americans serving on Fortune 500 Boards of Directors. So why is African-American Board membership important? Board Directors mission is to create shareholder value.
Boards create the policies that determine which people companies choose to hire, train, promote, and fire. They have oversight of corporate expenditures that cut across areas that impact society as a whole. They also shape corporate giving. For these reasons, we need to bring diversity…diversity of thought, leadership, global perspectives.
10 Trends Directors Need to Know as 2020 Approaches
10 Sep 2019
Heading into fall with eyes on 2020, corporate boards should brace for the increasing impact of digital migration, artificial intelligence (AI), and cultural shifts on their companies – and what this means for their role as directors, says WomenCorporateDirectorsFoundation(WCD).
How to Create a Diverse Board of Directors and Empower It to Thrive
10 Sep 2019
Two experts share tips on expanding the candidate pool and ensuring that new members are heard.
Organizations need to reassess their goals for the board, including how to consider expertise and other factors unique to the organization, when creating selection criteria.
Read more about how boards can be more diverse here.
Vanguard seeks more boardroom diversity and wants details
04 Sep 2019
Top fund manager Vanguard Group Inc will ask companies about the gender, age and race of their directors, adding pressure on U.S. companies to diversify their leadership.
“We are expanding our focus to more explicitly urge boards to seek greater diversity across a wide range of personal characteristics, such as gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, and age,” Vanguard wrote.
Companies Across the Midwest Adopt the ‘Rooney Rule’ to Fill Board Seat
A group of Midwest investors want to boost boardroom diversity across the region
14 Aug 2019
An initiative from investors across the Midwest aims to increase the diversity of company boards throughout the region, and they’re utilizing a technique born from the NFL to help companies find diverse candidates.
The Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative (MIDI), a group of institutional investors from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, looks to boost the number of women and people of color on the boards of companies based in the Midwest.
New Gig Economy Model Emerges For On-Demand Advisors
9 Aug 2019
A recent report by McKinsey found that knowledge-intensive industries and creative occupations are the largest and fastest-growing segments of the gig economy. Businesses are hiring experts who can advise at a high-level and in detail on how to navigate top business challenges like artificial intelligence, cyber-security, cash flow management, or new technology trends. According to a Forrester survey, 88% of companies agree that specialized talent is essential to the long-term viability of their organization.
This is where on-demand advisors come into play. High-level executives who are deep industry experts are contracted at an hourly rate for an agreed-upon length of time, whether it’s to meet for an hour about an HR crisis, extend to a longer engagement to help facilitate an IPO, or somewhere in between.
Former BET CEO Debra Lee Appointed to AT&T Board of Directors
31 July 2019
AT&T has added former BET Networks head Debra Lee to its board of directors.
“Debra’s outstanding leadership, deep expertise and strong track record in the entertainment and media industry will be terrific additions to our board of directors,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Her unique perspective as a media industry leader and operations executive, and her lifetime commitment to community service give her valuable insights I look forward to having on our board.”
James D. White Appointed to the Board of Directors of The Simply Good Foods Company
25 Jul 2019
Simply Good Foods Company, a developer, marketer and seller of branded nutritional foods and snacking products, announced the appointment of James D. White to its Board of Directors, effective immediately. White will also join the Company’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
OPINION: How to Write a Board Resume That Markets You as a ‘Next-Gen’ Voice
26 June 2019
Many thanks to @rosavargas for this very practical bit of guidance. As minorities seeking Board selections, we are accustomed to being the “only one” in certain situations as well as having to work a bit harder than our peers. This content provides a very clear path forward for candidates of color looking to stand out from the pack. We are often hesitant to tout our own, significant accomplishments. I can’t tell you how many CVs come across my desk with phrases like “team leader” or “collaborator.” Those are perfectly fine descriptors but when you want people to guide your company. Are you looking for a team leader or a change agent? Are you looking for a turnaround leader or a collaborator? Words matter. And in the struggle for Board selection, we have to position ourselves in the best possible light.
New Fellowship to Create Pipeline of African American Execs for Healthcare Boards
21 Jun 2019
A new six-month fellowship for African American executives is quashing the myth that diverse talent is hard to find.
The fellowship was created by The Leverage Network, a membership organization that seeks to diversify healthcare boards, in partnership with Ernst & Young and executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.
“I’m extremely excited to offer an initiative like this, because it will play a key role in improving health outcomes for African Americans by transforming board governance in healthcare organizations,” Antoinette Hardy-Waller, CEO of The Leverage Network, said in a statement. “Our goal is to promote up to 45 executives on their journey to directorship over the course of three years.”
Maloney Introduces Bill to Increase Corporate Board Diversity
17 June 2019
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets, on Thursday introduced the Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act of 2019, to ensure that investors and the public have the information they need about the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of corporate boards.
A Coalition of CEOs Wants to Get Boards to Commit to Diversity
17 June 2019
A coalition of chief executives is trying to get more corporate boards to create diversity plans at U.S. companies
“We’re asking CEOs and their boards to commit to annually doing a diversity and inclusion strategic plan,” Tim Ryan, chair of the steering committee for the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion told “Squawk Box” Wednesday.
The group has 650 CEOs in over 85 industries supporting its efforts.
Illinois Bill Requiring Minorities on Corporate Boards ‘Gutted’
11 June 2019
Legislation that aimed to diversify corporate boards in Illinois passed during the final days of the General Assembly’s spring legislative session, but was stripped of a key provision that would have mandated minority representation.
The bill, H.B. 3394, would have required Illinois companies to have at least one woman, an African-American and a Latino on their boards. But the version that passed the Senate dropped that requirement in favor of one mandating that publicly traded companies in Illinois report on their websites the demographics of their board and executive ranks as well as plans for promoting diversity in the workplace. The bill, which is now on its way to the governor’s desk, also requires an annual report card on Illinois companies’ diversity to be published by the University of Illinois.
Peggy Alford Confirmed as Facebook’s First African-American Board Member
31 May 2019
During Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting, eight members were elected to Facebook’s board of directors, including PayPal executive Peggy Alford, who’ll be the first African-American woman to join the board.
Closing the Gaps: More Work Needed to Accelerate Gender and Racial Diversity on Fortune 500 Boards according to Heidrick & Struggles’ 2019 U.S. Board Monitor
30 May 2019
– Women filled 40% of new board seats in 2018, the highest percentage in the 10-year history of the report
– Racially and ethnically diverse new board appointees in 2018 remained at 23%, unchanged from 2017
– Consumer experience for board appointees outpaced financial experience for the first time
What Boards Can Do To Positively Impact Corporate Culture
30 May 2019
When board members ACTT, the culture will never go back to what it was before. Organizational silos will break down. Cohesiveness will increase. And, ultimately, productivity will rise. Find out how to define and apply ACTT.
Lack of Board Diversity In Global Business Experience: Another Crucial Corporate Governance Gap
8 May 2019
The long-overdue pursuit by boards of public companies to get finally serious about raising their games by diversifying membership by gender, ethnicity, and age is overlooking an additional extraordinarily critical goal: bringing on directors whose careers are marked by broad operational experience working on the ground in a variety of international geographies, both in other mature countries, and arguably even more important, in fast-growing emerging markets.
Teresa White Elected to Synovus Board of Directors
2 May 2019
Synovus Financial Corporation has announced the election of Teresa White, president of Aflac U.S., to its Board of Directors. White has served as president of Aflac U.S., the operating U.S. insurance businesses for Aflac Incorporated, since October 2014.
The Debate About Directors With Too Many Board Commitments
30 Apr 2019
How many outside board positions are too many?
The asset manager Vanguard is taking a firm position on the issue of director overboarding. Its new proxy voting guidelines for U.S. portfolio companies essentially sets a limit on four directorships (and only one outside board for the CEO), in order to help address the demands of board and committee membership. In doing so, Vanguard makes a major contribution to the growing discussion about the impact of external commitments and distractions on director and CEO effectiveness.
The Thirty Percent Coalition Launches National Campaign to Promote Women of Color to Corporate Boards
23 Apr 2019
In this first-of-its-kind initiative, the Thirty Percent Coalition partners with the Nathan Cummings Foundation to bring attention to the small percentage (3.5%) of women of color on S&P 1500 Corporate Boards. The Coalition recently sent letters to companies in the S&P 1500 asking them to consider the value of adding women of color to their boards and inviting these companies to a series of regional events this fall.
Facebook Taps Peggy Alford as Its First Black Female Board Member
12 Apr 2019
Facebook has nominated Peggy Alford as the third woman to sit on its board of directors.
If elected, Alford will be the board’s second black person (former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault being the first) and first black woman. Under a recently enacted California law, the company has to have a third female on its board by 2021. The vote will take place at the company’s stockholders meeting on May 30.
Developing your own brand, your personal positioning, is a very important practice and the first step in landing a board seat. You will want to be crisp in distilling your career into three major digestible, thoughtful points. They should include industry background, your functional expertise, and what stage of company you are a best fit for.
When and Why Diversity Improves Your Board’s Performance
27 Mar 2019
Board diversity matters but concentrating on only one form of diversity isn’t enough. Interviewees suggested that social diversity (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, and age diversity) and professional diversity are both important for increasing the diversity of perspectives represented on the board.
‘The Jig Is Up’: Maxine Waters Warns Corporate America About Its Lack Of Diversity
31 Mar 2019
During Representative Maxine Waters acceptance speech of the Chairman’s Award at the 50th NAACP Image awards, she warned corporate America to fix its diversity problem.
“To America’s institutions that have historically overlooked women and minorities – the jig is up. I have created the first Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion in the history of the U.S. Congress. I have the gavel, and I’m not afraid to use it,” Waters said.
Having worked in financial communications for a number of Fortune 500 companies and being familiar with earnings reports, when I see percentage increases reported, I’m always a bit skeptical. When news stories lead with percentage growth, I have a natural tendency to ask, “From what base?”
Reading the recent, “Missing Pieces Report” trigged my instincts. In the report, the number of Fortune 500 companies with greater than 40 percent diversity has more than doubled from 69 to 145 since 2012. The full report is called, “Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards,” and it is a multiyear study published by the Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD), in collaboration with Deloitte1.
The report did contain good news. Any increase in the diversity of Fortune 500 boards can only be taken as good news because it represents progress. But terms like “all-time high” and “rapid shifts” should be used with caution.
Were the numbers reported pure financial metrics, most Wall Street analysts would offer a fairly lukewarm response.
The new numbers do represent increases but we have to ask, “from how big of a base?” The representation of women and minorities moved to 34 percent (1,929 board seats), compared to 30.8 percent in 2016 (1,677 board seats). Total minority representation increased to 16.1 percent (912 board seats) from 12.8 percent in 2010.
Let’s celebrate progress but be wary of viewing this as a victory. Much work remains in this area. I encourage you to read the data here.
Will We Need Boards in the Future Economy?
31 Jan 2019
The future economy, with its emphasis on digital disruption and hyper-disintermediated business models, augurs change in the way businesses and companies are run and governed. The changing relationship between boards and management will have significant impact on the roles and responsibilities of directors.
Tonie Leatherberry Named Chair of The Executive Leadership Council
16 Jan 2019
Tonie Leatherberry, Principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and President of the Deloitte Foundation, has been elected chair of The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the pre-eminent global organization composed of current and former black CEOs, senior executives, and board members of Fortune 1000 and equivalent companies; top-tier entrepreneurs; and global thought leaders.
Power In The Boardroom: Registry Of Black Corporate Board Members
Over the past six years, Black Enterprise has identified African Americans who serve on the boards of America’s largest publicly traded corporations.
Read more about the Black Enterprise Registry of Corporate Directors here.
Video – How to Become A Corporate Board Member
Watch the video to learn more about Deforest Soaries’ journey to the boardroom.
Soaries discusses how he gained entry to corporate boards, uses his position to impact change and the importance of diversity in corporate governance today.
Blog Post: Why Being A Part of Corporate Boards Matter
Just recently, a colleague asked me if I knew any African-American’s who served in C-suite roles with food or agriculture companies. I didn’t know anyone directly, but thanks to the database we keep through The Director Project, I was able to share eight names that fit the bill.
Perhaps this was an isolated conversation but I think not. As new companies form, spinoffs occur and Boards seek to diversify, we need better and more focused means of sharing the resumes of talented African-Americans who are capable of corporate board service.
Bold Action is Needed by Boards of Directors as Corporate Wealth Becomes Increasingly Concentrated, Says New Book
Are public corporations to be managed to support shareholder needs for constant growth, or are they to be managed to build long-term value for the future? According to a new book by turnaround and corporate governance expert Deborah Hicks Midanek, this debate forms the crux of a “Governance Revolution” currently underway, with an outcome likely important to every person on the planet.
Read more about What Every Board Member Needs to Know, NOW! here.
New California Law Forces Board Diversity, But Is It Right?
In a push to further corporate board diversity, California has enacted new legislation requiring publicly-traded firms in the state to have at least one woman on the board of directors.
Companies have until the end of 2019 to comply or face penalties. The more directors on the board, the more women the companies are required to add. For example, if a business has five directors, the law says it must add two women by 2021—six or more directors, then three women must be added to the board.