Apple. Amazon. Google. Facebook.
All know these iconic companies. They represent household names that owe a significant portion of market share and revenue growth to African American consumers. They also fail to have a single African American among their governance ranks. Four—Facebook emerged among the S&P 250 during the past year—are repeat offenders, having been on last year’s listing of “America’s Largest Public Companies Without Black Directors.”
In doing the research that led to 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 74 companies—29.6%—do not currently have a single black director in their boardrooms. Moreover, as a group, the number of companies without such representation didn’t budge from last year.
Among the worst have been tech companies. The reality is that these companies will not change their board compositions without pressure. For instance, Rainbow PUSH President Rev. Jesse Jackson told BLACK ENTERPRISE: “We found that [tech companies] had been fighting vigorously against EEO [Equal Employment Opportunity] reports because their records had been so horrendous, until they were embarrassed by the numbers.” The civil rights leader says that the findings “broke the ice” with most CEOs, but still none have confirmed that black board members were currently within their consideration set or nominating pipeline.
Bottom line: Diversity is not a priority. As one governance expert maintained, companies that fail to have board inclusion communicate to the world how little they value diversity on each rung of the corporate ladder.