According to LEAP’s Latest Report, Very Little Progress Made by Fortune 500 Companies in the Past 3 Years

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While corporate America continues to benefit from the growing strength of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) consumer sector, it still offers too few opportunities for APIs to participate in corporate leadership. Nowhere is this more evident than in their boardrooms.

Comparative Data in the Fortune 500: 2010-2012

Comparative Data in the Fortune 500: 2010-2012

“Organizations can take action by developing high potential API talent and ensuring that talented individuals have more opportunities to sit at the decision-making table.”

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) released today the results of its eighth report in the Leadership Research Series and the fourth edition focusing on Asian and Pacific Islander (API) inclusion on Fortune 500 boards. The statistics shed light on the stark reality of the scarce number of API leaders in the corporate world.

According to LEAP’s report, API representation on Fortune 500 boards increased 24 percent in the past 3 years. However, in 2012, APIs held a mere 2.6 percent of the total number of board seats. APIs make up 6 percent of the total U.S. population and their purchasing power is projected to climb to more than $1 trillion by 2017.

“The fact remains that only 114 companies in the Fortune 500 and one-quarter of Fortune 100 companies have directors of API descent on their boards. Therefore, our attention must focus on the need for all Fortune 500 companies to increase Asian and Pacific Islander representation on their boards,” said Linda Akutagawa, LEAP’s President and CEO.

Key Findings

o    In 2012, 129 API directors held 144 board seats in the Fortune 500:
         - 65.1 percent of API directors are corporate executives
         - 38.7 percent of API directors are of Chinese descent
         - 20.1 percent are women
o    16 APIs served as President, (Vice) Chair, and/or CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, of which 4 left their position at some point in 2012 due to M&A activity, resignation or retirement.

“Being effective in creating positive change in today’s world requires a proactive approach, not a reactive one,” added Ms. Akutagawa. “Organizations can take action by developing high potential API talent and ensuring that talented individuals have more opportunities to sit at the decision-making table.”

About LEAP:
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) is a national organization founded in 1982 with a mission to achieve full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) through leadership, empowerment and policy. With original programs in leadership training, public policy research and community education, LEAP partners with individuals and organizations to help develop a robust pipeline of API leaders across all sectors.

Under its leadership research initiative, LEAP is producing a series of research reports to evaluate and measure API representation at the highest leadership levels in corporations, foundations and nonprofits. The intent of this baseline research is to provide a tool for advocacy on behalf of the community that businesses, public institutions, as well as political, community and educational leaders can use to develop and implement strategies for sustainable growth in this arena as well as to highlight the critical need for further work in the area.

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Rima Matsumoto
LEAP
202-412-4190
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