Partnership Addresses Diversity Pipeline Issues; 2020 Board Diversity Update

Harvard Business School and the Executive Leadership Council announced a collaborative effort to provide enhanced programming opportunities for recipients of the Executive Leadership Council’s scholarships and executive education opportunities for senior black executives in corporate America.  According to a release from the ELC, its mission to open channels of opportunity for Black executives to positively impact business and communities aligns well with the goals of the recently announced HBS Action Plan for Racial Equity, a plan to advance racial equity both within and beyond the school. The Executive Leadership Council is among several organizations which cultivate and equip diverse leaders for executive positions in boardrooms and corporate America. Other organizations like the Toigo Foundation maintain partnerships with some of the world’s leading organizations to support the recruitment and diversity goals of partner companies and have helped fund boards with recruiting diverse directors.

A recent report on the 2020 Spencer Stuart Board Index notes: “Boards face intensifying pressure to prioritize minority recruiting in the coming year, with support for greater board diversity increasing on several fronts, including from investors and state legislators.” Some of the findings for Spencer Stuart’s recent research on corporate boards for 2020:

  • Recruiting of minority directors (defined as Black/African American, Asian and Hispanic/Latino) increased by just 10 percentage points in the past decade to 22%, which represents a small decline from 23% last year. Of the 92 new minority directors, half (50%) are Black/African American, 35% are Asian, and 15% are Hispanic/Latino.
  • Minority representation on the boards of the top 200 S&P 500 companies has increased only modestly during the past 10 years. Today, 20% of all directors of the top 200 companies are male or female minorities (10% Black/African American, 6% Asian, 4% Hispanic/Latino), up from 19% in 2019 and 15% in 2010. To put these numbers in perspective, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 40% of the U.S. population is estimated to be a minority, including 18.5% Hispanic/Latino, 13.4% Black/African American and 5.9% Asian.


Board-recruiting organizations focused on diverse candidates:

2020 Women on Boards –

100 Women in Finance –

African American Board Leadership Institute (Corporate Directors Initiative) –

Alliance for Board Diversity –

Ascend – Pinnacle (Pan-Asian Corporate Board Initiative)

Black Corporate Directors Conference –

Diversified Search –
Latino Corporate Directors Association –

Equilar –

Diligent –

Executive Leadership Council –