10 Most Powerful African Americans Directing U.S. Corporations

Chairmen of the Board: 10 Most Powerful African Americans Directing U.S. Corporations

Ursula M. Burns Chairman & CEO Xerox Corp. Boards: American Express Co., ExxonMobil Corp.

Who are the African American chairmen and lead directors of corporate boards? As part of our development of the exclusive BLACK ENTERPRISE Exclusive Registry of African Americans on Corporate Boards—our listing of black board members from the 250 largest companies on the S&P 500—we now reveal African American corporate governance leaders who are responsible for charging CEOs and senior management to promote greater transparency and accountability within corporations. These individuals exhibit qualities that set the tone for the complex deliberations—ranging from acquisitions and divestitures to executive compensation and layoffs—held in the boardroom that impact shareholder value.

RELATED: We Must Put An End to ‘Male, Pale & Stale’ on Corporate Boards

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, lead directors not only improve board performance by facilitating board discussions and helping directors reach consensus, but also have the authority to preside over executive sessions and help deal with difficult or underperforming directors as well. So, while expanding African American board representation will help drive the advancement of African Americans in the corporate space, those in leadership positions have a unique responsibility to facilitate this change.

Now, discover who the leaders of the board are among the nation’s largest publicly traded companies on the next pages …