Invisible At The Top: Only 5 Black CEOs At Fortune 500 Firms

January 30, 2015  |  

With Don Thompson retiring as CEO of McDonald’s that leaves only five Black CEOs at the 500 biggest companies. And there are now only just two CEOs who are African-American in the elite Dow 30.

“Our numbers are going south on us,” said Ronald Parker, CEO of The Executive Leadership Council, an organization whose goal is to boost diversity in corporate America.

Thompson actually became only the sixth African-American CEO in the Fortune 500 when he took the helm at McDonald’s 25 years ago. And that number has not changed much since, even though 13.2 percent of the U.S. population is African American, according to the Census Bureau.

But to get Blacks in place as CEOs, they have to get corporate experience. Over at Intel they are trying to get this process going. This month it unveiled a five-year, $300 million diversity program to build a workforce that mirrors the level of diversity among tech graduates, reports CNN. According to CEO Brian Krzanich, the company is “missing opportunities” because its workforce doesn’t represent the population.

Thompson said this as well when he was promoted at McDonald’s. At the time he said said diversity not only boosts the company’s bottom line, but “helps with the menu, too” by bringing new ideas to the table.

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