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Diversity on Corporate Boards Still a Challenge

A recent New York Times report on corporate board composition shows that efforts to diversify corporate boards remain a challenge.  Hispanics, in particular, remain underrepresented.  According to an annual report on board composition, 399 new directors were selected to sit on corporate boards in 2015.  Of those seats, Hispanics were selected for only 16, representing a declining representation over the last seven years.  Women and African-Americans, however, saw slight increases in board representation during 2015.  Women represented 29.8% of new directors and African-Americans 9.3%. 

The vast majority of the new directors are current CEOs or CFOs.  The lack of diversity within the community of current and former CEOs make increasing diversity on boards even more challenging.  For example, only nine CEOs in the Fortune 500 are Hispanic.  In order to increase diversity, the co-managing partner of Heidrick and Struggles (an executive recruitment company) encouraged boards to expand their search criteria to include “experienced general managers, financial executives, and functional leaders.”