UNC Study Reveals Corporate Board Diversity in N.C. Lagging the Fortune 100

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The diversity of corporate boards in North Carolina has stagnated since 2009 and significantly lags the diversity of Fortune 100 boardrooms, according to data recently released by the UNC School of Law Director Diversity Initiative (DDI). As of Sept. 30, 2012, only 12.02 percent of board members of the largest 50 corporations headquartered in North Carolina were female. This was down slightly from 12.24 percent female board members reported in 2009. Minorities constituted 7.08 percent in the 2012 study of board members, up slightly from 7.05 percent in 2009.

Only 13 of the boards had at least 25 percent diverse membership, down from 16 boards in 2009. Twelve companies had no females or minorities on their boards, up from 11 in 2009.

The data shows that large corporate boards in North Carolina are less diverse than the boards of Fortune 100 companies. According to a survey conducted by The Alliance for Board Diversity, as of 2010, 18 percent of Fortune 100 board members were female and 15.4 percent were minorities.

The DDI selected the 50 boards from the list of largest North Carolina companies ranked by market capitalization and reported in the August 2012 issue of Business North Carolina.

Board diversity is important for a number of reasons, according to Lissa Broome, Wells Fargo Professor of Banking Law at UNC School of Law and director of the DDI.

Lissa Broome

“A diverse group can help avoid groupthink and bring new insights and ideas. Sometimes homogeneous groups get into too much of a comfort zone and would benefit from new thinking and viewpoints,” says Broome. “It is disappointing that North Carolina–based companies have stalled in their board diversity. U.S. corporations used to lead the world in board diversity, but now they are falling behind as other countries such as Norway, France and Spain have imposed quotas to increase board gender diversity.”

Although Broome says she does not believe diversity quotas would be feasible in the U.S., she says hopes U.S. companies will embrace board diversity as strongly as they do employment diversity and voluntarily seek out talented female and minority board candidates.

View the full results of the 2012 survey and to compare the results with DDI surveys from 2006 and 2009 at https://ddi.law.unc.edu/boarddiversity/.

About the DDI

The DDI is trying to be part of the solution to the diversity issue by conducting training for diverse potential board members, maintaining a database of diverse board candidates, and helping companies identify board candidates who meet desired criteria and who would add diversity. The DDI will hold its next annual training program for potential, diverse directors, “Broadening Corporate Board Diversity: Earning a Board Seat,” on May 29, 2013, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill. The application for the May program is available at http://www.law.unc.edu/centers/banking/programs/boarddiversity/.

Expert Contact: Lissa Broome, 919.962.7066, lissa_broome@unc.edu
Media Contact: Allison Reid, 919.843.7148, allison_reid@unc.edu

Most Diverse N.C. Corporate Boards (as of 9/30/2012)

Company (and rank in size) % Females or Minorities
VF 45.5
Hanesbrands 44.4
Bank of America 37.5
Furiex Pharmaceuticals 33.3
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts 33.3
Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated 33.3
Red Hat 33.3
BB&T 33.3
Laboratory Corp. of America 30.0
Family Dollar Stores 27.3
Lowes 27.3
Piedmont Natural Gas 25.0
SPX 25.0

N.C. Corporate Board Diversity Over Time

1992 News & Record 2003 News & Record 2006 UNC Data 2009 UNC Data 2012 UNC Data
% Women Board Members 4.3 10.1 11.2 12.2 12.0
% Minority Board Members 1.8 5.3 6.0 7.1 7.1

-April 15, 2013

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