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EMpower list recognises top black business talent

PICTURED: Karen Blackett

KAREN BLACKETT OBE, UK country manager, WPP, and chairwoman of MediaCom UK, has topped the 2018 EMpower Ethnic Minority Executive list.

Blackett has been recognised for her tireless work creating opportunities for ethnic minorities in the workplace and using her position to keep diversity and inclusion at the top of the business agenda.

Blackett said: "Stunned, honoured and humbled to appear on the list let alone to top it. So many of the business leaders featured have been cheerleaders across industry and of mine personally. Talent should be recognised in all forms and I am grateful that this list shines the light on a number of amazing executives who are game changers."

Claudine Adeyemi, an associate at Mishcon de Reya LLP, has taken the top spot on the EMpower Ethnic Minority Future Leaders list.

The list celebrates the up and coming voices tackling business diversity head on.

She said: "I am overjoyed to be listed as the number one ethnic minority future leader. This list shines a light on the hard work that I and fellow listees are doing to improve the working landscape for people from black and minority ethnic groups and such visibility is essential if we are to effect real change. I hope that it will raise the profile of our efforts and inspire many others to get involved. Having diverse role models in business is key to encouraging a truly diverse and inclusive workforce across all sectors."

Advocates celebrated for the first time

2018 also sees the launch of a list celebrating advocates. With white people still holding the majority of senior business positions, advocates have an influential role to play in driving diversity and inclusion in all forms.

David Tyler, chairman of Sainsbury’s, is the first person to be awarded top place in the inaugural EMpower Advocates list. He has been recognised for the visibility he has given diversity issues and his role as co-chair of the Parker Review looking into the ethnic diversity of UK boards.

Tyler said: “As chairman, I see it as my responsibility to champion equal opportunities for everyone at Sainsbury’s. From a business point of view we know that teams with high levels of diversity perform better and help us deliver the best possible service for our customers. And from a personal point of view – it’s just the right thing to do! Difference – of whatever kind – should be celebrated.”

Suki Sandhu, EMpower founder, said: “Through these lists we hope to encourage individuals and businesses to stand up and work together to drive change in our society and workplaces - doing so will inspire the diverse leaders of tomorrow.”

The list, presented by the Financial Times, celebrate the work of ethnic minority business leaders, advocates and future leaders in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada.

Current landscape for ethnic minority employees

The FTSE 100 currently has only five ethnic minority CEOs, yet there are nine CEOs called David.

The Parker Review found in 2017 that, of the 1,050 director positions in the FTSE 100, only 85 were held by people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Fifty-one of FTSE 100 companies have no people from ethnic minority backgrounds on their boards.

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