Decline in African-American Fortune 500 boardmembers

A recent study on African-Americans on boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies commissioned by The Executive Leadership Council® found that the number of board seats held by African-Americans has declined since its inaugural board report released in 2004.  The percentage of African-Americans on corporate boards decreased from 8.1 in 2004 to 7.4 percent in 2008, a .7 percent decline.  Four years ago, African-Americans held 449 corporate board seats and today they hold 413 or thirty-six fewer.
“African-Americans lost ground in the boardrooms of corporate America between 2004 and 2008,” said Dr. Ancella B. Livers, executive director of The Executive Leadership Council’s Institute for Leadership Development & Research. “The total number of board seats during the period declined as well, but not nearly as much as the number of seats held by African-Americans. In light of current economic conditions and board reviews, there is an opportunity for companies to increase board diversity and reverse the downward trend.”