Diversifying the boardroom
Sporting bodies come together to tackle under-representation
One hundred and fifty people from across the sports sector and BME professionals, gathered at the House of Lords last month in an attempt to ‘diversify the boardroom’.
Currently in Britain, only three per cent of people serving on the boards of the nation’s sporting bodies are from BME communities, whilst 30 sports have no senior BME representation on any level.
Other data presented at the meeting included just one national sporting body with two BME board trustees and only seven of 216 management positions are held by the same demographic.
This information, plus more, was highlighted in Sporting Equals’ latest report, ‘Who’s on Board?’, and was obtained from an audit of 45 national governing bodies of sport conducted by Sport England.
Arun Kang, the Chief Executive of Sporting Equals, said: “The fact that so many people from sport and BME professionals have come together at a major event to help diversify boards is very encouraging and shows the passion and interest that there is in this issue.”
A key recommendation from the event was to set up a national steering group to help national governing bodies of sport diversify their boardrooms.
It will be looking at a wide range of options including co-options, shadowing opportunities, advisory roles and promoting Board vacancies more widely.
Likewise, another recommendation was to develop a database of candidates, empower potential BME candidates through training opportunities and develop an annual plan of action.
Edward Lord, Chairman of the Amateur Swimming Association, was present at the meeting and said he was delighted to have been approached on behalf of the ASA, to make the sporting body a member of the proposed national steering group.
He said: “The ASA is in full support of this agenda and I very much look forward to working in partnership with them to help attract, welcome and benefit from the development of a more representative and diverse board membership across our sporting nation.”
Mr Kang added: “Diversifying boards makes good business sense. Research shows they make for better decision making and are more profitable. Sport already contributes significantly to the English economy.
“Diversifying the top positions in sport will therefore be a win-win, meaning more people will participate and sport will make a substantially greater financial contribution to our country.”
There is growing evidence to support the economic case for diversifying sport – which already contributes over £20 billion to the English economy.
Research conducted by global management consultant McKinsey and Company in 2012 found that for companies ranked in the top 25% for executive-board diversity, the return on equity was 53 percent higher, on average, than it was for those in the bottom 25 per cent.
At the same time, earnings before income tax at the most diverse companies were 14 percent higher, on average, than those of the least diverse companies.