No black directors in top roles at FTSE 100 companies

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Black directors do not hold any of the top roles at FTSE 100 companies for the first time in six years despite long-standing diversity targets, according to new research.

The Green Park consultancy found that there are no black chief executives, chairmen or finance chiefs at any UK blue chip firms.

Trevor Phillips, chair of Green Park, said “the snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white”, despite plenty of qualified candidates to fill these roles.

The former politician said there are concerns among some people in senior positions that they are “diversity window-dressing”, while major appointments or acquisitions are made by largely white and male leadership teams.

The dearth of black executives comes after cruise operator Carnival, which is led by chief executive Arnold Donald, dropped out of the FTSE 100 last year.

Meanwhile, South African businessman Fred Phaswana also retired from his role as chairman of packaging giant Mondi.

Green Park said that representation for most other minority ethnic groups, not including black people, has increased in top roles, marginally, since it published its first report in 2014.

As a result, it said 10 of 297 leaders in the top three roles at FTSE 100 firms have ethnic minority backgrounds, including black people, representing the same proportion as in 2014.

At 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.

It warned that the prospects for greater black representation in the top tiers of these blue chip firms “look slim”, with numbers in the leadership pipeline decreasing over the past year from 1.4% to 0.9%, according to the report.

Mr Phillips 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.

“It is time that shareholders, consumers and employees start questioning whether Black Lives Matter is just rhetoric rather than reality.

“Corporate leaders need to stop telling us how much they care and do something to show us that black lives really do matter.”

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