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Business Secretary pushes for more ethnic diversity in boardrooms

UK Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable revealed details on his plans for British businesses to have more black and ethnic minority (BAME) board members.

Under Cable’s plans, companies listed on FTSE 100 should ideally have no boards composed of an all-white membership by 2020. Cable is pushing for one BAME director out of five seats six years after his program kicks off. 

To aid him in his pursuit, Cable asked help from current chair of Anglo American Sir John Parker, former Equality and Human Rights Commission head Trevor Phillips and veteran comedian and actor Lenny Henry. Sir John is given 6 months to create a strategy that will encourage FTSE 100 listed companies to add more diversity in their boardrooms.

The program was announced months after a study by Green Park released last February 2014 revealed the deep lack of diversity in boardrooms of big British companies.

The study’s data suggest that 60 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have boards occupied by white leaders only. Board members with coming from BAME backgrounds make up only 5.25 per cent of the total board membership population in all FTSE 100 listed companies.

The authors of the Green Park research, Professor Richard Webber of Kings College London and Trevor Phillips, decried the dismal number of BAME board members in British businesses, considering that 14 per cent of UK’s population are composed of black and ethnic minority individuals.


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