Equality and Diversity

Number of black leaders at FTSE100 companies falls to zero

It also found numbers in the leadership pipeline have decreased over the past year from 1.4% to 0.9%

The number of black individuals at the top of Britain’s biggest companies has fallen to zero, according to the latest research compiled by executive recruitment and diversity consultancy agency Green Park.

It found for the first time in its six years of analysis, there are no black chairs, CEOs or CFOs in the FTSE100.

The early findings from the Green Park Business Leaders Index 2021 reveal that while the numbers of most other minority ethnic groups in these top positions have increased by a small amount since its first report in 2014, the number of black leaders at FTSE 100 companies has stalled and then dropped to zero.

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As a result, only ten of 297 (3.4%) leaders in the top three roles have ethnic minority backgrounds, the same proportion as when Green Park began their FTSE analysis in 2014.

In addition, it said at FTSE 100 board and executive committee level, the percentage of black executive directors and non-executive directors (1.1%) has also fallen since Green Park’s first report in 2014 (1.3%).

This compares “unfavorably” with increased percentages for other minority ethnic board members (Muslim, Hindu and Sikh, and Chinese and East Asian) across the same period.

Green Park added that the research indicates the prospects for future increases in black representation at the highest levels of British business also “look slim”, with numbers in the leadership pipeline decreasing over the past year from 1.4% to 0.9%. This drop in the pipeline is reflected across ethnic minority groups more widely, with ethnic minority representation falling over the past year from 10.7% to 9%.

Trevor Phillips, chair of Green Park, said: “These figures put some flesh on the bone of last year’s protests. We know there is no shortage of qualified candidates to fill these roles if companies are willing to look. Yet the snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white. We cannot go back to business as usual.

“It is time that shareholders, consumers and employees start questioning whether Black Lives Matter is just rhetoric rather than reality. That is why we have put our backing behind Race Equality Week. Corporate leaders need to stop telling us how much they care and do something to show us that black lives really do matter.”

Green Park said the figures are an “early insight” into the findings of its Business Leaders Index 2021, an analysis of the gender and ethnocultural diversity of FTSE leadership. They are being released to mark the UK’s first ever Race Equality Week.

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