More than a dozen companies pledge to add Black director to boards within next year

More than a dozen companies pledge to add Black director to boards within next year
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More than a dozen companies announced plans to add at least one Black director to their boards within the next year to better reflect the diversity of the customers they serve, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. 

The companies, which include Zillow and M.M.LaFleur, signed on to the new initiative started by The Board Challenge, a movement pushing to increase diversity among leadership at various companies. 

“America has been reminded again in tragic fashion that we must redouble our efforts to build a more inclusive society,” Brad Gerstner, CEO of Altimeter Capital and a co-founder of The Board Challenge, said in a statement. “Business leaders can’t let this moment pass us by without playing our part and taking this tangible step to build a more diverse boardroom.”

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The 2020 S&P 500 Board Diversity Report from executive search firm Spencer Stuart revealed that while nearly all of the top 200 publicly traded firms have minority directors, people of color make up only 20 percent of all board members at those firms. This is an increase of just 1 percentage point from last year.

The same report found that Blacks accounted for only 11 percent of new directors over the past year, down from 13 percent in the same period a year ago.

In addition to the 17 companies that joined the pledge, another 27 companies that already have at least one Black director committed to encouraging other corporations to expand diversity and inclusion efforts on their boards. These companies include Nasdaq, Nordstrom, United Airlines and Verizon.