Despite All The Hype, America’s C-Suites Keep Getting Whiter And More Male

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Written by Ann Brown
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From left, Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., part of a small group of freshman representatives calling themselves Task Force Sentry, gather for an interview with The Associated Press to discuss their focus on election security, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 27, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Despite all the many publicized diversity efforts companies in corporate America attempted, the c-suites still remain occupied by mainly white males. America’s corner offices keep getting whiter and more male.

There had been hope when Ursula Burns, Indra Nooyi, and Ken Chenault became chief executive officers of Xerox, PepsiCo, and American Express, respectively. Now all of them are gone.

“There are now just three black CEOs running Fortune 500 companies, down from a height of eight three years ago. The number of women serving as CEOs was down to 24 as of May, a 25 percent drop since June 2017,” Bloomberg reported.

It’s not that Corporate America didn’t make some effort. 

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“Nearly every large U.S. company has publicly stated its commitment to diversity. Hundreds have signed pledges to achieve gender parity, close the gender pay gap, and make a larger effort to hire Black and Latino workers. 

Big tech companies have touted their on-campus recruiting programs at historically black colleges and universities. Wall Street’s biggest banks—Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley—increasingly boast about the diversity in their summer intern classes. It’s not unusual to see people of color make up a little more than half of those groups and women more than 40 percent,” Bloomberg reported.

Problem is due to the corporate culture it was hard to retain women, especially Black women.

“Middle management is where diversity goes to die,” Sallie Krawcheck said on a recent episode of Bloomberg’s The PayCheck podcast. “We’re all about women, and we’re all about diversity, and I still find that members of the team come back and say, ‘I’m going to hire this person like myself,’ ” she says. “And I say, ‘No, you’re not.’ … I will not let us talk ourselves into becoming a homogeneous company.”

Some companies aren’t giving up and are trying different diversity tactics.

“After seeing Black diversity backslide for eight straight years, Citigroup Inc. in August sent an internal memo describing new targets designed to reverse the trend. Over the next three years, the bank says, it will increase the presence of Black people in management to 8 percent from 6 percent. Over the same period, the percentage of women in management will grow to 40 percent from 37 percent. Those small percentage-point increases mask big changes in a workforce that includes 209,000 people around the world. If Citigroup hits its goals, it will propel thousands of women around the world and African Americans in the U.S. into management,” Bloomberg reported.