Corporate boards in North Carolina are increasingly diverse, but not as diverse as the boards of Fortune 100 companies, report UNC School of Law experts. Currently only 12.3 percent of board members of the largest 50 corporations headquartered in North Carolina are female. Seven percent of board members are minorities, according to the results of the most recent survey conducted by the UNC School of Law's Director Diversity Initiative (DDI).
Only 16 of the boards had at least 25 percent diverse membership. New to the most diverse list in 2009 were Salix Pharmaceuticals, Hanesbrands, Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Polymer Group and Goodrich. Eleven companies, however, had no females or minorities on their boards, down from sixteen companies in 2006.
"Diversity is an important measure of how well board membership reflects the greater society. It also serves as an indicator of corporate leadership opportunities for women and minorities. These data show that large corporate boards in North Carolina are less diverse than the boards of companies on the Fortune 100 list," says Lissa Broome, Wachovia Professor of Banking Law, director of the Center for Banking and Finance, and director of the DDI. "According to a survey conducted by The Alliance for Board Diversity, as of 2006, 17.06 percent of Fortune 100 board members were female and 15.42 percent were minorities."
The DDI selected the 50 boards from the list of largest North Carolina companies ranked by market capitalization and reported in the August 2009 issue of Business North Carolina.
These results show an increase in diversity by gender, race, and ethnicity since the last DDI survey in 2006. Four years ago, women made up 11.2 percent of board members of the 50 largest North Carolina corporations and minorities held 6 percent of board seats.
The full results of the 2009 survey are available online. Results may be sorted on a number of factors, including alphabetically by company, by size of company, by female diversity and by minority diversity.
In addition to conducting this board diversity survey, the DDI conducts training for a diverse population of potential board members, maintains a database of candidates and helps companies identify board candidates who meet desired criteria and who would add diversity. The DDI will hold its fifth annual training program for potential, diverse directors, "Broadening Corporate Board Diversity: Earning a Board Seat" on June 1, 2010, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill. The application for the June 1 program is available online.
The work of the DDI is supported by grants from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and the Fulfilling the Dream Fund: North Carolina Consortium.
Most Diverse NC Corporate Boards (as of 9/30/2009)
|Company (and rank in size)||Percent females or minorities|
|Reynolds American (7)||50.0|
|Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (47)||33.3|
|Salix Pharmaceuticals (35)||33.3|
|Piedmont Natural Gas (22)||33.3|
|Red Hat (13)||33.3|
|Progress Energy (8)||30.8|
|Family Dollar Stores (12)||30.0|
|Inspire Pharmaceuticals (43)||28.6|
|Bank of America (1)||26.7|
|Polymer Group (49)||25.0|
NC Corporate Board Diversity Over Time
|1992 News & Record||2003 News & Record||2006 UNC Director Diversity||2009 UNC Director Diversity|
|Percent women board members||
|Percent minority board members||