None of Scotland’s 48 listed companies has a black executive

Not one of Scotland’s 48 listed companies features a black executive on its senior management team, according to new research conducted by The Ferret.

None of Scotland's 48 listed companies has a black executive

The Ferret’s research found that only one in five Scottish firms have any ethnic minority representation on their non-executive boards.

The research also indicated that within Scotland’s Big Four accountancy practices in Scotland (EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC) there is just one partner who is not white. Similarly, in Scotland’s five largest law firms - Brodies, Burness Paull, Harper Macleod, Shepherd and Wedderburn and Thorntons - there are just five non-white partners. Harper Macleod employs three of the five.

Dundee-based investment firm Alliance Trust, alongside Baillie Gifford Japan and Ediston Property Investment COmpany, are all co-run by a person of colour. But, just three other listed Scottish firms have any PoC within their management teams.

Standard Life Aberdeen has one member of its leadership team who is from a white background.

Quiz Clothing, which is Scotland’s smallest listed firm, has a management team of mostly Asian heritage, with founder and chief executive Tarak Ramzan joined by chief commercial officer Sheraz Ramzan and retail operations director Omar Aziz.

In terms of boardroom representation, only FTSE 100 investment fund Scottish Mortgage, Natwest Group, Standard Life Aberdeen, Virgin Money and Plexus have any non-white non-execs, with each having appointed one person from an ethnic minority background to its board.

A spokesman for Standard Life Aberdeen said that the firm organisation recognises it needs to do more to ensure there are ethnically diverse staff at all levels of its business.

He said: “Greater representation of diverse talent needs to happen at all levels, including at executive leadership level and on boards, as these groups are the visible representation of what a company stands for. Like many companies, we have made progress on gender balance and 45 per cent of our board positions and 36 per cent of leadership roles are now held by women.

“But we must do more, which is why improving minority ethnic representation and opening up routes for individuals from a variety of backgrounds to join our industry are our current priority areas of focus, alongside gender.”

Sue Dawe, head of financial services for Scotland at EY, told The Ferret: “We know that progress on racial equality hasn’t been fast enough and that there is more we must do. Our leadership team in Scotland and the UK is committed to taking leaps rather than small steps on this agenda and will make the necessary adjustments if we don’t get this right at every stage.”

Natwest Group is Scotland’s only listed company to have implemented ethnicity targets to ensure significant change can be made to ethnic diversity within a specific timeframe. As part of that it has pledged to “identify, develop and pull through at least 14 per cent non-white leaders by 2025”.

The Big Four accountants have also made similar pledges since the Black Lives Matter movement erupted earlier this year, each promising to bring minority ethnic candidates into their partnership ranks between 2022 and 2025.

A spokesman for PwC said that using data to achieve its targets “is a key part of building a strategy and action plan on inclusion and diversity that drives change”.

Sue Dawe at EY added that putting in place measurable commitments is “an important starting point for us to achieve the cultural change we want to see”.

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