Diverse Directors in Short Supply

Large companies are ''recruiting from farther down management ranks and from the academic and nonprofit worlds.''

At the 200 largest companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500, 16 percent of directors are women and 15 percent are minorities. The overall supply of qualified business executives is still low, however, according to a new report by executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart.

To increase the numbers of women and minorities on their boards, stated the report, the companies are “recruiting from farther down management ranks and from the academic and nonprofit worlds.”

The report also found that at these companies, women and minorities each hold just 6 percent of the five highest-compensated executive positions.

“CEOs and directors realize that board discussions are richer when individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives participate,” said Julie Daum, a practice leader for Spencer Stuart, in a statement. “But there is still only a small number of women and minorities among senior corporate executives, and they are in high demand.”

Other findings:

• 97 percent of S&P 200 companies had at least one woman director.

• 63 percent of male directors, but only 26 percent of women are active or retired chairpersons, presidents, or CEOs.

• 23 percent of women directors, but only 8 percent of men, come from the academic or nonprofit worlds; that’s also true for 17 percent of minority board member but only 9 percent of non-minority directors.

• 90 percent of S&P 200 companies had at least one minority director.

• About 36 percent of minority directors are active CEOs, compared with 38 percent of non-minority directors. As for retired CEOs, however, the figures 6 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Only 6 percent of women are lead or presiding directors, 17 percent chair the nominating/governance committee, 11 percent the audit committee, and 7 percent the compensation committee. Percentages for minority directors are lower that for women.

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