New Report Shows Significant Increase in Female and Black Representation in the Executive Boardroom

Diversity and inclusion appear to be successfully increasing among America’s largest and most successful companies. The finding comes from a new report conducted by executive recruiting firm Crist Kolder Associates as part of its review of DEI representation in executive offices.

Ariel Zilber of the New York Post reported that “the largest companies in the U.S. continued their diversity push last year, with the number of black CFOs doubling and the number of women in the C-suite ticking slightly higher.”

Those numbers come from the Crist Kolder Associates report, which analyzed data from 682 companies included within the S&P 500 index or the Fortune 500.

“Of those companies, 12 had a black Chief Financial Officer in 2020, according to the firm’s calculations,” Zilber said. “In 2021, that number rose to 20.”

Other notable findings from the report:

  • Of the companies studied, 73 had non-white CFOs.
  • Of those CFOs, 39 were either Asian or Indian; 14 were Hispanic or Latino; and 20 were Black.
  • Eleven percent of CFOs in the companies the group reviewed were minorities — an all-time high based upon the group’s previous research.

“Telecom behemoth AT&T, sports retailer Foot Locker, industrial supply company W.W. Grainger, and investment firm Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America are among the companies that hired black CFOs last year,” Zilber reported.

Representation for women in the C-suite also increased significantly, the report concluded. “The number of women hired as CEO increased for the third year in a row, and women also now make up 15% of company finance chiefs,” Crist Kolder said.

“In 2021, 47 companies were led by a woman CEO — a slight rise over the year before, when there were 44 women in that position,” Zilber reported. “Last year, 101 firms employed a woman CFO — up from 90 in 2020. In 2010, there were just 55 women CFOs among the top companies in corporate America.”

Eli Lilly, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Charter Communications were among the companies that hired a female CFO in 2021.

Finally, the Crist Kolder report also had one negative from the previous year: a slight downturn in racial diversity among corporate CEOs. The number of CEOs of color dipped from 69 in 2020 to 66 in 2021. Of those CEOs, diversity appeared to be highest in the tech sector, with 25 of 66 CEOs coming from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

“In breaking down the ethnic makeup of minority CEOs, Crist Kolder’s data shows that while the number of Hispanic and Latino executives is on the rise, the hiring of black chief executive officers has remained stagnant,” Zilber said. 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.