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Missing: Diversity On NC Corporate Boards

A new study shows large corporate boards in North Carolina are less diverse than the boards of Fortune 100 companies. 

The UNC Law School Director Diversity Initiative looked at the boards of the 50 largest companies in North Carolina.  Twelve percent of the board members were female, which is slightly down from 2009.  Minorities made up seven percent of the boards, the same as in 2009.  Lissa Broome heads the Director Diversity Initiative and says it’s hard to explain why Fortune 100 boards are more diverse.

“Is that because the larger companies are large and have been successful, because they have diverse boards or it because since they are large and successful they are the best at bidding for the scarce number of women and minorities who are viewed as board eligible or board qualified?" says Broome.

Broome says 13 of the top 50 North Carolina corporate boards have at least 25% diverse membership, including Bank of America, Family Dollar and Piedmont Natural Gas.  A dozen of those boards have no females or minorities.   Broome says to add to the lack of board diversity is the nationwide trend to reduce the size of boards.

"As board sizes are decreasing rather than increasing and there’s very low turnover, there really aren’t opportunities to inject new blood onto boards whether that be women, minorities or just new people in general," says Broome.

VF Corporation has the largest percentage of women and minorities on its board at 45.5%.


Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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