Report by Sir John Parker, chairman of mining giant Anglo American, says every FTSE 100 company should have one non-white director by 2021..
Britain’s top companies should bring to an end all-white boardrooms by 2021, a government-backed review into ethnic diversity has recommended.
A report led by Sir John Parker, chairman of mining giant Anglo American, said the UK’s largest firms are failing to promote sufficient numbers of people from ethnic minorities to senior positions.
He concluded that every company listed on the FTSE 100 should have at least one non-white director by 2021. For FTSE 250 companies, the deadline should be 2024.
The proportion of non-white people on UK FTSE 100 boards is currently at about 8%, compared with 14% of the overall population in the UK. Only nine non-white people hold the top positions of chair or chief executive.
“The boardrooms of Britain’s leading public companies do not reflect the ethnic diversity of either the UK or the stakeholders that they seek to engage and represent,” Parker said.
“This report highlights that ethnic minority representation in the boardrooms across the FTSE 100 is disproportionately low, especially when looking at the number of UK citizen directors of colour.
“We believe that in order for corporate Britain to reflect the progress that is being made in diversity, equality and inclusion generally, changes are needed in the boardrooms where leadership, stewardship and corporate ethics are of utmost importance.”
Parker was appointed to head the review of ethnic diversity in boardrooms in 2014 by the then-business secretary Sir Vince Cable. It followed the Davies review, which recommended in 2011 that FTSE 100 companies should double the proportion of women in boardrooms to 25% by 2015. The target was exceeded, with women accounting for 26.1% of FTSE 100 boards last year.
The draft proposals in the report titled Beyond one by ’21, are now out for consultation until 28 February 2017, with final recommendations to follow.
Responding to the report on Wednesday, the deputy director general of business lobby group the CBI, Josh Hardie, said the recommendations were an ambitious but practical way to make progress on an important issue.
Hardie added: “Increasing ethnic representation on boards is not only the right thing to do, it improves business’s performance by bringing together people with a variety of ideas and experiences to make better business decisions.
“Ultimately, attracting and promoting talent from all backgrounds helps us to build inclusive and productive workplaces, in which everyone feels engaged and able to perform at their best.”