Oct 6, 2022 - World

Despite growth, Latinos are missing from boardrooms

Illustration of a board room table with 8 chairs, one of them a different color, surrounded by abstract shapes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

When Priscilla Almodovar was named CEO of Fannie Mae last week, it marked only the third time a Latina has been appointed to lead a Fortune 500 company, and Hispanic people remain the least represented demographic in boardrooms, per a new report.

Why it matters: Latinos in the U.S. are major economic drivers and the second largest racial or ethnic group, but a report by the Latino Corporate Directors Association, an organization that aims to increase the representation of Latinos in corporate America, shows they are often excluded from decision-making positions.

Driving the news: Almodovar is set to be the only Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company when she starts the job at Fannie Mae in December. She will also be a member of the company's board.

The big picture: Latino representation in boardrooms of Fortune 1000 companies has grown 12 percentage points since 2019, according to the LCDA report.

  • This year, 35% of Fortune 1000 company boards have at least one Latino or Latina, up from 13% in 2011.

Yes, but: “Even at this rate, it will take decades to reach parity,” the LCDA report says.

  • Overall, only 4% of Fortune 1000 board seats were held by Latinos in 2022.
  • Latinas fare even worse, holding less than 1% of all boardroom positions.

What they’re saying: “This signals a real blind spot for corporate America,” Monique Navarro, LCDA associate vice president, tells Axios Latino. “Both in terms of the strong candidate pool and the business case,” since “it’s Latinos who are driving growth in every consumer market segment and adding growth to the workforce.”

Major companies without Latinos in their boardroom include FedEx, IBM and JP Morgan Chase, the report says.

  • FedEx said in a statement Thursday that its board of directors is "committed to having a membership that reflects a diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, age, and background."
  • "As it considers potential new director candidates in the future, the FedEx Board of Directors will remain steadfast in its pledge to maintaining a diverse membership," it added.
  • IBM and JP Morgan Chase haven't responded to Axios requests for comment.

Navarro said that companies who say they can’t find qualified Latinos should look to organizations that are nurturing the pipeline, like the LCDA’s member directory, the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) or theBoardlist, which has a talent-search tool highlighting people of color.

  • “There is ample talent, especially of Latinas, who are the most overlooked,” says Navarro.
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