Sir John Parker's diversity review wants all-white FTSE 100 boards to end by 2021

Rebecca Smith
FTSE 350 companies should aim for the end of all-white boards by 2024
FTSE 350 companies should aim for the end of all-white boards by 2024 (Source: Getty)

2021 will be the year all-white boards at FTSE 100 firms are over. At least if Sir John Parker has his way.

According to Sky News, the findings from Sir John Parker's review into diversity on boards will be unveiled in a government-backed report next week.

The report will state that Britain's biggest firms should have at least one non-white director by 2021 and the next 250 largest firms should aim to appoint one non-white board member by 2024.

Read more: Diverse boards outperform male-only peers by £430bn

Parker's review concluded that FTSE 100 boardrooms aren't representative enough of their workforces, nor their supply chains or indeed customer bases. While 14 per cent of the UK's population isn't white, the figure falls to just eight per cent of the directors on FTSE 100 boards (just shy of 1,100).

So the upcoming report will urge chairs of UK businesses to work with boardroom colleagues to mentor non-white employees to help develop their path to the top of the private sector.

Parker has been chairman of mining group Anglo American since 2009 and has also served as president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, chief executive of shipbuilder Harland & Wolff, as well as chairman of BG Group.

He was tasked with the review by former business secretary Sir Vince Cable back in 2014 and has been drawing up plans to encourage top UK-listed companies to raise the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) board members.

Read more: Hedge funds leading City in gender diversity despite "boys club" reputation

It marks a similar approach taken in the government-backed Lord Davies' review that succeeded in pushing the number of females on FTSE 100 boards up from 12.5 per cent to 26 per cent last year.

A new review is being undertaken by Sir Philip Hampton, chair of GlaxoSmithKline, and Dame Helen Alexander, chair of UBM, seeking to improve female representation in leadership positions of British business. It is also widening the ambition to the entire FTSE 250 and raising the target to 33 per cent of women on boards by 2020.

Related articles