The number of Black board members among Russell 3000 companies is still small, but progress is beginning to emerge, according to a report released Monday by BoardProspects, a software platform for company boards.
Of 27,000 board members within the Russell 3000, 5.4% are Black; 60% of Russell 3000 companies have no Black board members.
Broken down by industry, BoardProspects found that companies hit an inflection point over the past year, with a significant increase during the second half of 2020, following pivotal events, including the death of George Floyd Jr. and the rise of community-based movements such as Black Lives Matter.
In 2020, 4,145 new board members were appointed in Russell 3000 companies, and 10.1 % were Black, including 170 seats for Black men in 2020, and 138 seats for Black women.
Among all industries in 2020, banking performed the best among Russell 3000 companies, with 22 new appointees, followed by biotechnology and internet/online companies. Industries scoring lowest were specialty retail, software, health-care provision, and food products, with 11 appointees each.
"Clearly, corporate boards still have a long way to go in terms of achieving racial diversity, but we've seen some remarkable improvements just over the past year," said Mark Rogers, BoardProspects president and CEO, in a statement.