Leadership

No Black Executives in Top Three Roles of UK's FTSE 100 Firms for First Time Since 2014, Report Shows

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  • The findings from the Green Park Business Leaders 2021 index showed that just 10 of the 297 people in the top three roles of FTSE 100 companies have ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • The number of Black executive and non-executive directors on the boards of FTSE 100 companies had also fallen to 1.1% from 1.3% in the last six years.

LONDON — There are no Black executives in the role of chair, chief executive or chief financial officer at Britain's 100 biggest companies for the first time since 2014, according to a report on boardroom diversity.

This was according to annual research released Wednesday by U.K. executive recruitment and diversity consultancy agency Green Park.

The initial findings from the Green Park Business Leaders 2021 index, which looked at the background of 6,172 workers in the U.K., showed that just 10 of the 297 people, or just over 3%, in the top three roles of FTSE 100 companies have ethnic minority backgrounds. This was the same proportion as when Green Park started its analysis of FTSE 100 companies in 2014. 

Green Park said that while the number of workers from most other ethnic minority groups in those top positions had slightly increased in the last six years, the number of Black leaders had stalled and then fallen to zero. 

The number of Black executive and non-executive directors on the boards of FTSE 100 companies had also fallen to 1.1% from 1.3% in the last six years, Green Park said. 

The prospect of greater Black representation at the top of the some of the U.K.'s biggest companies in the future was also found to be diminishing. The percentage of Black employees in the leadership pipeline had fallen to 0.9% from 1.4% in the last year, while wider ethnic minority representation had declined to 9% from 10.7%. 

Trevor Phillips, chair of Green Park, said that the findings "put some flesh on the bone" of last year's Black Lives Matter protests. The international movement for racial justice led to a resurgence of protests in May and June last year, prompted in part by the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police in the U.S.

Phillips said there was no shortage of qualified candidates to fill these top roles in the FTSE 100. 

"Yet the snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white," he said. The data coincided with the U.K.'s first ever "Race Equality Week," which was co-founded by Green Park following last year's Black Lives Matter protests, with the slogan: "Let's not go back to normal." 

"Corporate leaders need to stop telling us how much they care and do something to show us that black lives really do matter," Phillips said.  

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