Asian and Pacific Islanders on Fortune 500 Boards are Practically Nonexistent

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A staggering 77.8% of Fortune 500 companies have no Asian and Pacific Islander representation on their boards.

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“Only 2.4% of the total number of board seats in the Fortune 500 is held by Asian and Pacific Islanders,” said Linda Akutagawa, LEAP’s President and CEO.

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) reveals the surprising results of its newest leadership series report on Asian and Pacific Islander (API) inclusion on Fortune 500 boards in 2011. The statistics shed light on the stark reality of the meager number of API leaders in the corporate world.

According to LEAP’s report, only 116 APIs held 135 board seats in the Fortune 500 last year. APIs make up 6% of the total U.S. population and their purchasing power is anticipated to grow significantly by 2015.

“Only 2.4% of the total number of board seats in the Fortune 500 is held by Asian and Pacific Islanders,” said Linda Akutagawa, LEAP’s President and CEO. “It is our hope that this issue will be critically addressed and be seen as a crucial part of understanding our country’s full potential in an increasingly globalized world.”

Key Findings

  •     18 API directors held titles such as president, (vice) chair and/or chief executive office of a Fortune 500 company. Of those, three were women.
  •     The ethnic breakdown of the API directors is as follows: Chinese (45), Asian Indian (37), Japanese (17), Korean (6), Pakistani (3), Vietnamese (3), Bangladeshi (1), Filipino (1), Malaysian (1), Singaporean (1) and Sri Lankan (1).
  •     Twenty-one Fortune 500 companies have two API directors on their boards: Hewlett-Packard, Wells Fargo, PepsiCo, Best Buy, Safeway, Cisco Systems, Morgan Stanley, Staples, Aramark, Edison International, Avon Products, Synnex, OfficeMax, AECOM Technology, Yahoo, Mattel, Targa Resources, Agilent Technologies, SunGard Data Systems, SanDisk and Cognizant Technology Solutions.
  •     MasterCard has four APIs on its board of directors, more than any other company in the Fortune 500.

The report provides lucid insights into the issue of the lack of API leadership within Fortune 500 companies. By providing leadership development workshops, programs and training, LEAP aims to empower API individuals to lead fully thriving and educated communities. LEAP has gained respect from many colleges, universities, community organizations, student organizations, government agencies and Fortune 1,000 companies across North America and Asia, all of whom have participated in LEAP’s programs and workshops. With the growing number of over 125,000 individuals who have been positively impacted by LEAP’s training, LEAP believes that more APIs can be proactive today and actively participate in shaping the future of the country.

To see the full report or to learn more about LEAP, please visit For media requests, please contact Rima K. Matsumoto by email at rmatsumoto(at)leap(dot)org or by phone at (202) 412-4190.

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 raises the impact and visibility of APIs in all sectors. LEAP is headquartered in Los Angeles and has an office in Washington, DC.

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.

Partial funding for the 2011 API Representation on Fortune 500 Boards report was provided by AT&T.

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Rima K. Matsumoto
(202) 412-4190
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