Black CEOs Demand More Diversity in the C-Suite

ELC expands mission to focus on global leadership

ELC president & CEO Arnold Donald plans to increase the number of African Americans in the C-suite.

With the mission of expanding black corporate leadership across the globe, the Executive Leadership Council, a network of the nation’s most powerful African American executives, announced the changing of the guard at its Annual Recognition Gala last night. At the hot-ticket event that attracts a Who’s Who of business leaders, the group selected corporate veteran Arnold Donald its new president and CEO.

ELC Chair Jessica Isaacs said, “We have found the best individual possible – one who can embrace our traditions as we seek to have an impact on global leadership. “  In making the announcement, she ticked off Donald’s numerous accomplishments, which included his most recent role as CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the world’s largest charity funding such activities; Chairman of Merisant Company, manufacturer of food product sweeteners; and a senior executive at Monsanto, the mammoth agricultural biotech company. In fact, during his tenure at Merisant, he was named the 1997 BLACK ENTERPRISE Corporate Executive of the Year.

Donald, who will assume the position on Nov. 1, says ELC will seek to demonstrate that “the power inclusion in the C-suite can result in advancing major corporations and growth of increasing shareholder value.”  Although he did not offer details on his new management thrust, Donald maintained his commitment to key planks of ELC’s agenda: global expansion of black senior management ranks; preparation of African Americans executives for corporate board positions; networking and professional development; and programs that will impact African American communities.

At the event, the organization also presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Reatha Clark King, former president and chair of the General Mills Foundation and a member of Black Enterprise’s Registry of Corporate Directors. ELC’s achievement honor went to Don Thompson, president & COO of McDonald’s and the 2007 Black Enterprise Corporate Executive of the Year; and the Corporate Award was given to McDonald’s for its diversity efforts. As part of its new “community impact initiative,” ELC also raised $500,000 for the LEAD (Leadership, Education and Development) program, which places black high school students on professional and business tracks.

ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.boardroombound.biz Linda Bolliger

    Arnold Donald’s background bodes well for ELC’s future. I look forward to opening up a dialogue about how Boardroom Bound and our Boardology Institute help your leaders enter business board service and begin the ascent up the board service supply chain and into the boardrooms of publicly traded companies. The difficulty involved in getting selected reminds me of a newly minted college graduate caught in the Catch 22 circumstances of having a hard time getting a job because of “lack of experience” and unable to gain experience without a job. Only this time it involves mature business executives, which is why we decoded the process and have been successful in preparing business leaders for board governance and then helping them find a seat at the table.

  • http://none John Doe

    Black CEO’s “DEMAND”?? Why do we still use our race to gain the upper hand? I will tell you my brothers and sisters, until we as blacks stop setting ourselves apart, racism will never end. We are doing it to ourselves. If the white CEO’s of the corporate world demanded more whites, seriously, what would happen? What about the Chinese, Russians, British, and so on, they quietly go about their business working as hard as they can, never using there heritage to gain an upper hand in any situation from college grants to corporate America. Just because we were enslaved, does that give us the right to be able to set ourselves apart. And remember, in this day and age, the year 2010, blacks own blacks as well.

  • http://none Jon Leveque

    I totally agree “Mr Jon Doe”. I too am an African American who is sick of this stuff. I taught all four of my children that there is no program, organization, or special status that replaces good old hard work. If we as a people taught our children this same message, maybe racism would halt. Thanks for being bold, you could have used your real name though.

  • Jeanette Doe

    I can’t say that I know what the best approach is to solving our disparity issues in corporate circles, but to ignore it and “work hard” is not the answer, my fellow friends who posted above. We can teach our young people to be color blind all we want, but racism is still entrenched in the policies of many organizations. I just read a 2010 article that revealed that when Black executives are downsized, they are twice as likely to not be hired as an executive in another company as their white counterparts, but generally enter the work force as staffers. Now what does that have to say about working hard? “Zero.” What does that have to say about race playing a role? You would have to sensibly conclude “something.”

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