on boards are over. The pipeline of black corporate directors is getting smaller as major corporations are looking for CEOs, CFOs, and financial professionals well-versed in Sarbanes-Oxley and who can deal with sophisticated financial and governance issues. Hundreds of our nation’s largest companies have no black directors at all on their boards.
John H. Johnson, the late founder of Johnson Publishing Co., recommended me to replace him when he ended his board service to Chrysler. It is now up to me and my peers on corporate boards to identify and help prepare new talent for board service. We must do these things not out of a commitment to civil rights and social justice alone-however worthy a cause that may be-but because it is what’s best for the corporation and its shareholders. This is why you should know about who is serving on the boards of the world’s largest companies and, more importantly, why you should care about how they are performing their board service. You should expect African Americans serving on corporate boards to do more than merely have a presence-you should expect us to make a difference.