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Latino People Widely Underrepresented on Boards Despite Corporate Push for Diversity

GOBankingRates logo GOBankingRates 4/20/2021 Georgina Tzanetos
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In a small step toward addressing inequality across executive corporate boards, publicly-listed US companies quadrupled the appointment of Latino board executives in Q1, Bloomberg reports.

A statement released by the Latino Corporate Directors Association, revealed that in both California and Texas, 39% of residents are Latino but account for only 3% of Fortune 1000 board seats of the companies based in those states. 

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They add that the state with the highest prevalence of Latino directors is Florida, where 25% percent of the population is made up of Latinos, yet still only 5% of Fortune 1000 board seats are held by Latinos.

Nationwide, those figures are even lower. The LCDA reports that nearly one in five residents in the United States is Latino, but account for only 2.7% of Fortune 1000 board seats. 

This comes at a time where major companies are under scrutiny for their lack of diversity both in the boardroom and in their leadership positions overall. The Wall Street Journal reported in October that the U.S. Labor Department is investigating companies with federal contracts that have included specific numerical goals in their pledges to increase diversity. They argue that these resemble illegal quotas and could potentially discriminate against white applicants and other groups, the WSJ reported. 

The Nasdaq is also pushing for greater diversity among its roughly 3,000 companies listed on the exchange. The Nasdaq recently filed a proposal asking the SEC to approve new listing rules surrounding the makeup of companies’ board of directors and offer increased transparency around the decision makers that fill those seats, CNBC reports.

The proposal would require the majority of companies to have at least two diverse board directors: one woman and one person who identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ. Should a company not meet these goals, it will have to explain why to remain listed, and failure to publish board data would get the company delisted entirely, CNBC adds.

Whether or not these initiatives come to fruition remain to be seen, but Latinos are expected to hit $1.9 trillion in purchasing power by 2023 according to the LCDA. It will also be difficult to avoid diverse populations and the impact they will have on markets, as ESG investing grows.

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A ruling on the Nasdaq’s proposal was delayed until this summer, but the push is just one example of sustained efforts that will likely strengthen as ESG investing grows CNBC reports.

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