In the latest installment of the school’s Down To Basics video series, Professor Lissa Broome explains what her research has found. Watch until the end for statistics from the 2021 census published by the Director Diversity Initiative.
The Director Diversity Initiative (DDI) at UNC School of Law works to increase the diversity on corporate boards of directors so that companies benefit from a broader array of perspectives. Every three years, DDI conducts a board diversity census of the top 50 public companies in North Carolina.
The 2021 results show that 26% of the board members at these companies are female, up 15 percentage points from 2006 when DDI was formed. As of 2021, 16% of board seats were held by people of color (POC), up 10 percentage points from 2006 but still far below the 38% of the population that was non-white or multi-racial in the 2020 U.S. Census.
The census also looked at the named executive officers (NEO) of the top 50 public companies in North Carolina. NEOs are defined by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission as the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and the three most highly compensated executive officers. Fifteen percent were female. POC were underrepresented at just 10%.
Key takeaways from the census of the top 50 public companies in North Carolina:
- Twenty-four companies have three or more women in 2021 compared to four in 2006
- Just one company had zero women on their board in 2021 compared to 19 in 2006 and that company has since added a female board member
- Eight companies have three or more POC in 2021 compared to zero in 2006
- Seven companies had no POC board members in 2021 compared to 26 in 2006
- As of 2021, 12 companies have gender/POC balanced boards, which is achieved when 50 percent or more of board positions are held by women or POC
- Of 496 total directors in 2021, 366 are men (316 white men and 50 men of color) and 130 are women (102 white women and 28 are women of color)
Named Executive Officers
- In 2021, the top 50 public companies have 15% women NEOs compared to 10% in 2015
- As of 2021, the top 50 public companies have 9.6% POC as NEOs compared to five percent in 2015
- As of 2021, four of the companies have gender/POC balanced NEOs, compared to two in 2015
- As of 2021, 31 of the companies have at least one woman as a NEO, compared to 21 in 2015
- As of 2021, 20 companies have at least one POC as a NEO, compared to 10 in 2015
The DDI maintains a database of potential diverse directors and provides training for those interested in corporate board service. Corporate nominating committees contact DDI to help identify potential board members. In 2021, DDI assisted in 38 corporate board searches.
Visit ddi.law.unc.edu for more information.