Minorities represent 14.5% of corporate boards; women 18%

One of most successful corporate diversity surveys ever — 219 of Fortune 500 responded; 71 of Fortune 100

– U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Task Force and the lone Hispanic Senator, today unveiled the results of his survey on women and minority representation among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies, as well as their use of minority and women-owned businesses in the contracting and procurement process. The survey found that women and minority representation on corporate boards continues to lag far behind the national population percentages. Menendez’s survey was one of the most successful of its kind, garnering input from 219 corporations on the Fortune 500 list and 71 on the Fortune 100 list.

The study found minorities to represent a total of 14.5% of directors on corporate boards and overall have less representation on executive teams than they do on corporate boards. Hispanics are least proportionately represented on boards and fared even worse on executive teams. They comprise 3.28% of board members and 2.90% on executive teams, about one-fifth of the 15% they represent in the U.S. population. Among minority groups, African Americans have the highest representation on boards compared to their population, but saw greatest decline in representation from boards to executive management teams, from 8.77% to 4.23%. Women on the other hand fared better on executive teams than on corporate boards, with 18.04% and 19.87% of representation respectively, but these figures still represent less than one-half of their proportion of the national population.

Senator Menendez and others also offered concrete recommendations, including the creation of a task force with select corporations, executive search firms, board members, and other experts to help companies move in this direction.

“As Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, one of my top priorities has always been promoting and expanding diversity at all levels of our economic, political and social sectors, and the basic understanding that has resulted from this survey will help guide us in doing so,” said Senator Menendez. “This report clearly confirms what we had suspected all along – that American corporations need to do better when it comes to having the board rooms on Wall Street reflect the reality on Main Street. We need to change the dynamic and make it commonplace for minorities to be part of the American corporate structure. It is not just about doing what’s right, but it’s a good business decision that will benefit both corporations and the communities they’re tapping into and making investments in. That’s why I’m offering my recommendations and to work one-on-one with companies who want to move those numbers and company executives who want to make a difference in the community.”

“At the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) as an organization that represents more than 200 local Hispanic Chambers across the United States, and speaks for 3 million small and minority-owned businesses throughout the nation, we believe that embracing diversity is not just the right thing to do, but is a smart business decision. To us, diversity is not an abstract concept – we measure success by the qualified Hispanic employees hired, developed, advanced and flourishing with their corporate employers and we applaud Senator Menendez’s leadership in holding corporate America accountable to their commitments to diversity.” Said Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“A diverse workforce is critical to providing the best service to our global clients, supporting our business initiatives and creating a workplace environment that promotes respect and fairness,” said Jose Manuel Souto, Chief Financial Officer for Visa in Latin America.

“Our country is very rich in diversity, and our economic progress resides largely in our ability to harness that diversity. In our industry we experience first hand the enormous amount of untapped investment talent, thirsty for opportunities to prove to institutional investors its ability to compete and deliver. We commend Sen Menendez for his vision and leadership, and invite corporate America to see these efforts as an opportunity to find new competitive advantages. By exploring the utilization of fresh and capable diverse talent Corporate America wins and our country’s economic progress accelerates.” Said Monika Mantilla, President & CEO of Altura Capital, and New America Alliance Board Member.

“Ethnic diversity on public company boards is ultimately good business. When 40% or more of your customers in America are going to be minorities, companies, to be competitive, need the insights and expertise of Board members who understand how to market to those segments. Senator Menendez is to be commended for making this issue one of public discussion and dialogue.” Said Roel Campos, former SEC Commissioner and Board member of the New America Alliance.

This survey is one of the largest studies of women and minority diversity among corporate leadership with one of the highest response rates. A total of 219 Fortune 500 companies participated, including 71 Fortune 100 companies, making this one of the largest surveys on women and minority representation in corporate leadership ever. It requested the following information from corporations: 1) whether or not they have written diversity plans with targets, 2) data on diversity at the Board and executive management level, and 3) information on supplier diversity.