Heidrick & Struggles: Record Increase in Black Appointees

Board fundamentals—financial oversight and good governance—were crucial in 2020 as companies navigated through a global pandemic, geopolitical uncertainties, and economic recovery. Many directors found themselves working more closely than ever with executive teams to keep their companies afloat and working at a faster pace than ever before. And boards were increasingly expected to address topics as wide-ranging as community responsibility, sustainability, and diversity, not only in their own composition, but publicly. Furthermore, remote working and crisis management forced boards to operate differently, often outside their traditional schedule and agenda.

Navigating an uncertain global pandemic and substantial societal shifts that triggered new leadership and strategic demands, Fortune 500 companies in 2020 appointed a record percentage of racially and ethnically diverse directors, driven by increases in new Black board members. However, new women appointees registered a rare decline from the previous year, according to the 2021 U.S. Board Monitor from Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII), a premier provider of global leadership advisory and on-demand talent solutions.

The article outlines the following: 

  • Decrease In Women Appointees, and Latinx, Asian and Asian American Appointments Mostly Flat
  • Boards Shift from Traditional Director Experience to Deeper Industry Experience and First-Time Directors

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