Thursday, September 16, 2021

VIDEO: Amazon, Microsoft Among U.S. Companies to Join ‘Black Boardroom Initiative’

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A diverse group of business people are shown in a large modern meeting room in an undated stock image. STOCK IMAGE/Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

*Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks have joined an initiative aiming to boost African American representation in the boardroom of U.S. companies.

The Black Boardroom Initiative was launched to increase the number of black corporate board members on S&P 500 boards to one in eight by 2028, law firm Perkins Coie announced Wednesday. Perkins Coie is spearheading the initiative with support from Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, RealNetworks, Zillow, F5 and Deloitte.

“Corporate leaders, shareholders, and employees are looking to CEOs and company boards to take meaningful actions against racism and to promote greater diversity within their leadership ranks,” Bill Malley, Perkins Coie’s managing partner, said in a statement. “It all starts with the board. The Black Boardroom Initiative aims to address this equity challenge by increasing racial and ethnic diversity on corporate boards.”

The plan seeks to reach one-in-eight representation to mirror the percentage of Black Americans in the United States, according to Perkins Coie.

Nearly 40% of S&P 500 companies didn’t have a single black board member as of 2019, the firm said.

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