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Whites dominate top roles in UK companies: Study

Almost six in 10 of the main boards of the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index, or the FTSE100, have all-white boards, a new study has revealed, warning that the trend would harm Britain’s economy after leaving the European Union (EU).

The London-based consultancy group Green Park said in its latest Leadership 10,000 report, released on Wednesday, that the current boardroom picture in major British companies was “not a fair representation of British society.”

The firm arrived at the conclusion after analyzing the top 20 roles, including CEOs, CFOs and Chairmen, within Britain’s largest corporations as well as the next 100 most senior roles in the FTSE 100.

The study also found that none of the companies had female CEOs or chief financial officers who belong to ethnic minorities.

The British luxury cars and engineering giant Rolls-Royce had one of the least racially diverse employee base among FTSE100 companies, ranking 90th on the list.

This is especially detrimental to the outlook of the British economy after Brexit, where the companies need to appeal to the immensely diverse markets outside of Europe, warned Green Park’s chief executive Raj Tulsiani.

“In light of the UK’s desire to increase trade with non-EU countries, the ongoing inability of our leading companies to attract and retain leaders from east Asian and African backgrounds should be a matter for serious concern,” he said.

“The UK’s aspiration to be outward looking and open to business with the non-European world is hardly enhanced by the continued lack of challenge in the boards of our leading companies, still statistically and behaviorally dominated by men of similar cultural and educational backgrounds,” he added.

The findings come nearly a year after a government-backed review that called on British companies to diversify their all-white boardrooms by 2021.

Led by Sir John Parker, the outgoing chairman of the mining company Anglo American, the report warned that UK businesses were failing to promote enough numbers of people from ethnic minorities to top positions.

Parker said last year that he hoped the report would “draw attention to the change in demographics around us, not only in the UK.”

According to him, half of the world’s population growth was going to take place in nine countries—five of them in Africa and three in Asia—over the coming years, while FTSE 100 were going to need foreign customers for 75 percent of their sales.

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