Recruitment of Diverse Directors Made History in 2020


Agenda | March 29, 2021

The Agenda article, "Recruitment of Diverse Directors Made History in 2020​," featured Russell Reynolds Associates research on the increase in minority directors on corporate boards. The article is excerpted below.

George Floyd’s brutal death at the hands of police and the subsequent support for the Black Lives Matter movement and conversations about racism in the corporate space spurred a swell in boards’ recruiting Black directors, recently published data suggests. In fact, diverse directors overall gained more board seats in 2020 than in the past 10 years combined.

A report published this month by online board search platform BoardProspects found that the percentage of Black board members among new directors recruited to Russell 3000 boards jumped from 5.9% in 2019 to 14% in 2020, while the number of new Black directors appointed more than doubled from 114 to 308.

Similarly, a recruitment study from search firm Russell Reynolds Associates that relied on data from ISS showed that as of Feb. 16, 2021, the overall proportion of minority directors on Russell 3000 boards had risen from 10.4% in 2019 to 13.2% in February 2021, the greatest — and fastest — gain seen in more than a decade. Between 2008 and 2019, the overall percentage rose from 8.4% to 10.4%. (Directors whose ethnicity could not be identified were excluded from the study.)

Among S&P 500 companies, about 114 boards added at least one Black director to their boards between June 2020 and February 2021, the Russell Reynolds report states.

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Recruitment of Diverse Directors Made History in 2020