NEW YORK, Feb. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Spencer Stuart, the global executive
recruiting firm, today reported research showing that America's largest
corporations, striving to increase representation on their boards of directors
by women and minorities, can find experienced business executives qualified
for directors, but the overall supply of minority and women executives is
still low. The firm said boards prefer directors with business experience,
although they do appoint directors from academia and other professions.
According to the firm's 2006 Board Diversity Report, a study of 2,357
directors of the top 200 S&P 500 companies, 16 percent of the directors now
are women and 15 percent are minorities, and that companies have reached those
levels by recruiting from farther down management ranks and from the academic
and nonprofit worlds. The study also found that women hold only six percent
of the five highest-compensated executive positions, and that minorities
similarly hold only six percent of the top five executive slots.
"CEOs and directors realize that board discussions are richer when
individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives participate," said Julie
Daum, practice leader for the North American Board Service Practice of Spencer
Stuart. "The challenge is finding qualified women and minority candidates.
Boards have a responsibility to shareholders to align the composition of the
board with the business strategy by appointing directors who add value to the
board and company. But, there is still only a small number of women and
minorities among senior corporate executives, and they are in high demand."
Daum added that Spencer Stuart understands the challenge boards undertake
in finding qualified women and minority candidates. Spencer Stuart performs
more than half of all director searches done by executive search firms, and it
has placed more than 275 women and 150 minority candidates on boards since
2000. Through its work, the firm has witnessed that companies which are
diligent and focused are successful in attracting the highest levels of
diverse talent to their boards.
"Finding directors of any kind is more difficult than ever," Daum said.
"Active CEOs, who are most wanted, are often not available for board duty.
Boards need a well defined process to find directors they need."
Among key findings of the study are:
* Female Representation: 16 percent of S&P 200 directors were women and 97
percent of S&P 200 companies had at least one woman director. While 63
percent of male directors are active or retired chairmen, presidents or
CEOs, only 26 percent of women fit in the same category. On the other
hand, 22 percent of women directors come from other corporate executive
positions, while only nine percent of men do. Women also lead with
backgrounds from the academic/not-for-profit world. A total of 23
percent of women directors come from this category, while only eight
percent of men do.
* Minority Representation: 15 percent of directors were minorities
(African-American, Hispanic, or Asian), and 90 percent of S&P 200
companies had at least one minority director. Approximately 36 percent
of minority directors are active CEOs, virtually the same percentage as
non-minority directors (38 percent); however, there are fewer retired
CEOs (six percent versus 21 percent). In addition, boards are
recruiting minority directors from fields not traditionally known for
yielding corporate directors, such as the academic/nonprofit community.
While only nine percent of non-minority directors come from the
academic/nonprofit sector, 17 percent of minority directors have this
* Board Leadership: Women and minorities have made only modest headway
into board leadership. A mere six percent of women are lead or
presiding directors. And, while women directors comprise 23 percent of
nominating/governance committee members, 21 percent of audit committee
members and 20 percent of compensation committee members, representation
as chairs of each of these three committees, respectively, is 17
percent, 11 percent and seven percent. Percentages for minority
directors are smaller than for women.
* Diversity by Industry: There is a wide variation of diversity
representation by industry. At the high end, women represent 20 percent
of directors in consumer non-cyclical businesses and 18 percent of
directors in services but only 10 percent of all directors on boards of
capital goods companies. Minority directors have the greatest
representation in consumer cyclical companies at 20 percent and the
lowest representation in energy and consumer goods at 10 percent.
Spencer Stuart's 2006 Board Diversity study is available on the firm's web
site at http://www.spencerstuart.com.
About Spencer Stuart
Spencer Stuart is one of the world's leading executive search consulting
firms. Privately held since 1956, Spencer Stuart applies its extensive
knowledge of industries, functions and talent to advise select clients --
ranging from major multinationals to emerging companies to nonprofit
organizations -- and address their leadership requirements. Through 50 offices
in more than 25 countries and a broad range of practice groups, Spencer Stuart
consultants focus on senior-level executive search, board director
appointments, succession planning and in-depth senior executive management
assessments. For more information on Spencer Stuart, please visit
SOURCE Spencer Stuart