Drive to get more ethnic minorities into British boardrooms

Oct 17 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

British leadership organisations are launching a drive to get more people from black and ethnic minority communities into the boardroom.

Black and ethnic minority communities account for around 7.9 per cent of the UK's population but are hugely underrepresented on public boards.

Leadership development organisation Common Purpose, the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales executive search company Odgers Ray & Berndtson are all backing the launch of a programme support leaders from diverse black and minority ethnic communities to take on leadership roles in public life.

The About Time campaign is being launched on Thursday.

Julia Middleton, founder and chief executive of Common Purpose, said, "This isn't a numbers game. This campaign is about identifying top talent among black and minority ethnic leaders and providing the ongoing support they need to be successful leaders of public boards.

"It's vital to the future of UK society that our public bodies are led by people who reflect the diverse society they serve. Isn't it about time we reaped the benefits of diversity rather than shying away from it or reducing it to targets?"

Olu Olanrewaju, executive director of housing company Midland Heart and a supporter of the campaign, added: "Being a non-executive director over the past six years has been beneficial both personally and professionally. I greatly encourage people from diverse backgrounds to take up the opportunity to make a difference to the communities where they live."