The number of FTSE 100 companies with at least one ethnic minority board member increased to 81 in March, up from 52 in January 2020, said a U.K. government-appointed committee.
The Parker Review Committee, which was commissioned in 2015 by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to consult on the ethnic diversity of U.K. boards, recommended in 2017 that FTSE 100 companies appoint at least one ethnic minority director to their boards by the end of 2021.
The committee said Friday that significant progress to increase the number of board members of ethnic minority backgrounds was made despite recruitment being affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The committee's latest survey of FTSE 100 companies showed that 118 ethnic minority directors held 124 of 998 board roles as of Nov. 2, compared with 98 of 1,011 board positions that were held by 95 ethnic minority directors a year earlier. Of the 118 ethnic minority directors, 46% were women, up from 42% a year earlier.
The survey also found that 36% of ethnic minority directors identify as British citizens and 11% sit on more than one board.
There were five FTSE 100 companies with ethnic minority directors serving as CEOs, compared with six ethnic minority directors that held CEO and/or chairman positions a year earlier.
"Corporate Britain, in my view, is becoming more comfortable with boardroom diversity," said Sir John Parker, chairman of the committee, in a news release. "I believe, too, that the majority of FTSE board leaders want British companies to be seen, not only as the best governed in the world, but also comprising of society's best diverse talents."
FTSE 250 companies have until 2024 to appoint at least one ethnic minority director on their boards, according to the committee's recommendations.