New Insights on the Corporate Landscape

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.

Facebook Taps Peggy Alford as Its First Black Female Board Member

12 Apr 2019

Peggy Alford

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.

Read the full story here.

Building Your Brand To Land A Board Seat

03 Apr 2019

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.

Read the full article here.

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.

Read the report here.

‘The Jig Is Up’: Maxine Waters Warns Corporate America About Its Lack Of Diversity

31 Mar 2019

Representative Maxine Waters

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.

Read the full story here.

New Illinois Bill tries to include Diversity in the Workplace

2 Apr 2019

House Bill 3394 would require publicly-traded companies headquartered in Illinois to have at least one woman and one African American serve on its corporate boards.

Click here to read more.

Clarence Otis Elected Lead Director of Verizon

5 Apr 2019

Clarence Otis

The Verizon Board of Directors elected Clarence Otis, Jr. as Lead Director. Otis will succeed M. Frances Keeth, who is retiring from the Board May, 2019.

Read more here.

Amazon Diversifies Its All-White Board With Addition Of Starbucks Exec

5 Feb 2019

Rosalind Brewer

Amazon has appointed a black woman to its all-white board of directors after intensifying pressure to diversify the company’s leadership team.

Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks’ chief operating officer, will be the fourth woman and the only person of color on Amazon’s now ten-person board.  

Previously the CEO of retail warehouse chain Sam’s Club, Brewer is the second black director to have served on Amazon’s board. Myrtle Potter, former president and COO of Genentech, was the first.

Read more here.

Beware of the Small Base

01 Feb 2019

Dana Bolden

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.

Read the details here.

Tonie Leatherberry Named Chair of The Executive Leadership Council

16 Jan 2019

Tonie Leatherberry

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.

Read more here.

Everyone Knows Innovation is Essential to Business Success—Except Board Directors

03 Jan 2019

In a recent survey of 5,000 board members, innovation was not ranked high on their list of priorities. What are they not seeing? Ask Boris Groysberg and Yo-Jud Cheng. The researchers wrote up their findings in a Harvard Business Review article, Innovation Should Be a Top Priority for Boards. So Why Isn’t It?

Read more here.

Top Issues for Boards Heading Into 2019

Board diversity was among the top 10 issues Akin Gump says boards will confront in 2019, and which CFOs should be prepared to discuss with board members. Read the full list of issues here.

Building a Better Board: 5 Things Every New Board Member Should Know

Read more on expectations, missions and goals every board member should consider by clicking here.

Meet Nike’s New Diversity and Inclusion Executive

Tamika Curry Smith

Nike appointed Tamika Curry Smith as its new VP of Diversity and Inclusion.

Read the details here.

Nike Appoints Founder of Largest Black-Owned Assets Management Firm to Its Board

John W. Rogers

Nike has appointed John W. Rogers, the CEO and founder of Ariel Investments L.L.C. to its board of directors, according to a press release.  

Read more online here.

Chicago Lags National Average in Diverse For-Profit Boards

Only 14 percent of the board members at Chicago’s top 50 publicly traded companies are racially or ethnically diverse, compared to the national figure of 17.5 percent, a new report finds.

The 2018 Inside Inclusion Featuring the Corporate Diversity Profile report focuses on the top 50 Chicago-based companies ranked by 2017 revenue as reported in Crain’s Chicago Business’ 2018 Book of Lists and compares them to local and national statistics.

Read the full article.

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

Deforest Soaries

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

Dana Bolden

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.

Read more here.

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.

Read more here.