Have you ever searched Google, stood in line to purchase the latest iPhone, bought products on Amazon.com or bought plane tickets through Priceline.com? Have you shopped at the Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy or made purchases at CVS using your Visa or MasterCard? Do you plan to watch the Sunday football game on Fox Sports? Well, none of these companies value your consumer dollars enough to have African Americans sit on their board of directors.
The browning of America hasn’t extended into the boardrooms of some of America’s largest publicly traded corporations—a number that benefit from black consumers to gain market share.
In our research to create the black enterprise Registry of Corporate Directors, our listing of black board members from the 250 largest companies on the S&P 500, we discovered that 75 companies—30% —currently do not have any blacks on their boards including quite a few household names. We did not include Dell, which included former Congressman and UNCF President and CEO William H. Gray as a board member until his death in early July. And at presstime, Sprint Nextel and Softbank were in the process of completing merger talks.
As we developed the following list, our editors reached out to the executive offices or investor relations departments of every company with a series of e-mails and phone calls to gain explanations for the absence of black representation as well as the lack of recruitment effort. We found that 58 of these companies, however, failed to provide us with any response.
*We incorrectly identified Edison International as one of our “75 Companies Without Black Board Members.” In fact, Peter J. Taylor, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the University of California (UC) system, is an African American and has served on the board of directors of Edison International since December 2011.