Have you ever searched Google, stood in line to purchase the latest iPhone, bought products on Amazon.com or bought plane tickets through Priceline. com? Have you shopped at the Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy or made purchases at CVS using your Visa or MasterCard? Do you plan to watch the Sunday football game on Fox Sports? Well, none of these companies value your consumer dollars enough to have African Americans sit on their board of directors.
The browning of America hasn't extended into the boardrooms of some of America's largest publicly traded corporations--a number that benefit from black consumers to gain market share. According to the most recent study developed by the Alliance for Board Diversity, corporate boards are becoming whiter. Steven Rogers, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a corporate director for 20 years, says any decrease is due to corporations having "made the decision that diversity is not important to them, as far as I'm concerned."
In our research to create the BLACK ENTERPRISE Registry of Corporate Directors, our listing of black board members from the 250 largest companies on the S&P 500, we discovered that 75 companies--30%--currently do not have any blacks on their boards including quite a few household names (see list), We did not include Dell, which included former Congressman and UNCF President and CEO William H. Gray as a board member until his death in early July, And at presstime, Sprint Nextel and Softbank were in the process of completing merger talks.
Three companies--Duke Energy, global insurer Aon Inc., and Tyco International--shared with our editors that they've had black board members in the past that have retired or elected to leave the board. None, however, have replaced those board members with another African American or indicated a timetable to do so.