Today we’re proud to be handling the PR launch of the inaugural UPstanding Executive Power List of the top 100 Black Asian and Minority Ethnic business leaders in the UK, US and Ireland. Muhtar Kent, CEO The Coca-Cola Company is ranked number one.
Our objective is to maximise exposure for the lists and we’re delighted to have already seen powerful articles feature in the FT, City AM, and Business Insider, as well as BBC News. We’ve also seen people really get behind the story on social media, with a #UPstanding100 reaching 1MIL people across 89 countries this morning, helped in part by our Thunderclap campaign.
Critics sometimes question why people from a BAME background need to be specifically called out in this way. But that misses the point. These lists are not about asking for special treatment or quotas. They’re about shining the spotlight on those BAME leaders that have achieved success against the odds, to inspire the next generation.
This is needed because the top levels of big companies today simply don’t reflect the societies they serve. Today, just 3% of CEOs in FTSE 100 companies and 7% of AIM CEOs are not white, despite the BAME community of the UK making up 14% of the population. The picture is even bleaker in the US. Although BAME is not used as a classification in America, the non-white population (including Hispanic and Middle Eastern) stands at 28%, while only 11% of CEOs at S&P 100 companies are not white.
As Suki Sandhu comments, “There is a diversity deficit at the very top of organisations in both the UK and the US. We whole-heartedly believe that making diverse role models visible and celebrating them is the most powerful way to address this as you are demonstrating to the leaders of tomorrow exactly what is possible for minority ethnic groups. The message of this list is that there should be no boundaries or barriers for your potential.”
Congratulations to all those featured in the list and let’s hope their example helps inspire the next generation of BAME business leaders.