75% of directorships still held by whites – survey

2014-10-15 12:19

Most company directors, chief executives and chief financial officers in Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies are white males, according to a South African Institute of Chartered Accountants survey.

“Seventy-five percent of directorships are still held by whites at present, and 87% by males – so obviously a lot of work still has to be done on transformation,” the institute’s chief executive Terence Nombembe said today.

However, there were hopeful signs of transformation within the younger generation.

This was a result of young black chartered accountants (CAs) below the age of 40 being appointed as directors.

“Through the [Thuthuka Bursary Fund], we now have hundreds of potential black CAs (SA) in the educational pipeline,” Nombembe said.

The fund was made available by the institute for aspiring chartered accountants.

“If we analyse the racial split of directorships by age, we see that for directors under 40, white and black are almost at parity; whites predominate by barely a tenth of a percent.

“For ages 41-50, whites outnumber blacks by a factor of two and a half. But over the age of 51, there are five times as many white directors as black ones, and ten times as many in the over-61 age group,” he said.

Women – and black women in particular – filled a higher percentage of directorships in the under-50 age group, than they did among the over-50 group.

“This is understandable. Twenty years ago, there were very few black and/or female CAs (SA), so if we are rectifying that, we would expect it to start the improvement in the measures in the younger groups first,” Nombembe said.

The institute surveyed 475 JSE-listed companies.

Nombembe said there were a total of 4 035 directorships, of which 1 025 were CAs (SA).

CAs (SA) made up 74.3% of chief financial officers or financial directors and 21% of chief executives or managing directors.

“Almost two-thirds of the companies run by CAs (SA) are in fact in the top 200, which to me implies that CAs (SA) are better than average at running companies,” he said.

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