Insight

African American representation on Fortune 1000 boards

KPMG and the African American Directors Forum examine African American representation on the boards of public Fortune 1000 companies.

This study, conducted by the African American Directors Forum and the KPMG Board Leadership Center, examines the representation of African American directors serving on public Fortune 1000 boards.

The urgent need to increase the number of African American voices in the boardroom has perhaps never been greater. While we have seen progress over the last year, there is still much more work to be done. Although African Americans comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population, only 8 percent of board seats of public Fortune 1000 companies were held by African Americans as of December 31, 2020.1

Among the key findings:

  • Nearly 40 percent of public Fortune 1000 companies did not have an African American director serving on the board.
  • While 61 percent of the public Fortune 1000 companies had at least one African American board member, only 21 percent had more than one.
  • Nearly a quarter of the African American directors serving on public Fortune 1000 boards at the end of 2020 joined those boards within the prior year.
  • The vast majority of African American directors who joined boards in 2020 did so during the second half of the year.
  • An African American director served as board chair at 12 public Fortune 1000 companies as of December 31, 2020; 2 also held the CEO role.

Footnotes

1 The 2020 U.S. Census finds that 12.4 percent of the U.S. population identifies as “Black or African American alone” and 14.2 percent identifies as “Black or African American in combination with another race group.” See Nicholas Jones, Rachel Marks, Roberto Ramirez, and Merary Ríos-Vargas, “2020 Census Illuminates Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Country,” United States Census Bureau, August 12, 2021.

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