Ursula Burns, the first Black woman to run a Fortune 500 company, will step down as CEO of Xerox when the company splits in two later this year.
Once the move is complete, Burns will become the chairman of the printer, copier, and document technology company created from the split. This will subsequently mark a disturbing point in the world of big business: there will be no Black women serving as CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.
According to the nonprofit research organization Catalyst, there are only 23 female CEOs among Fortune 500 companies. When Burns steps down, there will only be one woman of color among the group.
The latest records show less than three percent of directors of Fortune 500 boards are Black, Hispanic, or Asian women, and there are only four Black Men CEOs within the world of these massive companies.
During Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and his panel of guests discussed what looks to be the end of an era as it relates to Black women running companies in corporate America, what can be done to reverse this trend, and who diversity is actually benefitting.
NewsOne Now panelist Avis Jones-DeWeever explained, “Diversity has now come in practice to mean White women.”
She continued, “If you specifically look at who are CEOs in America and Fortune 500 companies since between 2008 and 2009, we’ve seen an increase of White women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies by four-fold.”
“At the same time, we’ve only had that one Black woman ever in the history of Fortune 500 and the number of people of color generally have gone down,” said De-Weever.
The founder of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women went on to explain “the problem” with our nation’s discussion about diversity, saying, “When we talk about diversity, when we talk about who is going to get the benefits,” we find that there is “more diversity among male CEOs in Fortune 500 companies than there is among female CEOs.”
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the lack of African-American women CEOs in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.