Ascend, KPMG Report on the State of Asian Representation on Fortune 1000 Boards

Inaugural research reveals over 70 percent of Fortune 1000 boards lack Asian perspective in the boardroom

Despite the increasing focus on racial and ethnic diversity by corporate boards in a climate where companies increasingly are evaluated on social impact and responsibility, there remains a substantial shortage of Asian representation on Fortune 1000 boards, according to a new report from Ascend Foundation, Ascend Pinnacle corporate board director network, and KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm.

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The U.S. Asian population grew 72 percent between 2000 and 2015.  According to a 2018 report by The Nielsen Company, Asian Americans are the most educated and most affluent of any U.S. race or ethnicity.  Asians also make up 12 percent of the professional workforce. These characteristics contribute to the misperception that Asians are well represented in corporate America and can perpetuate the myth of the model minority.  Despite a perception that Asians are well represented in the corporate boardroom and executive suites, the report finds that roughly 72 percent of Fortune 1000 companies do not have an Asian director.

“Asians occupy only 3.7 percent of all board seats in the Fortune 1000 in contrast to the 12 percent of the professional workforce,” said Anna Mok, President, Ascend and Ascend Foundation, Co-founder, Ascend Pinnacle. “It is an imperative to increase Asian and more diverse representation in the boardroom that is reflective of ample board-qualified talent in the marketplace.”

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“The fact that over 70 percent of Fortune 1000 companies do not have Asian representation on their boards today is significant. We look forward to working with companies committed to increasing diversity on their board,” added Janet Wong, Lead Executive Advisor, Ascend Pinnacle.

“It is notable that larger companies are more likely to have Asian directors. While only 28.4 percent of all Fortune 1000 companies have at least one Asian director, 41.7 percent of Fortune 100 companies have an Asian director perspective in the boardroom,” said Annalisa Barrett, a senior advisor with the KPMG Board Leadership Center. “We’ve been delighted to work with Ascend Pinnacle on this inaugural report which is an important contribution to discussions promoting racial and ethnic diversity on corporate boards.”

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