Mentoring the Next Generation
- Corporate Executives and boards have failed to develop the next generation of Black executives for opportunities that lead to becoming CEO.
- Collectively, since 1987 there have only been 21 Black CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.
- In 2004, there were 6 Black CEO’s in the Fortune 500 and the number peaked in 2014 at 7. Progress has clearly stalled – currently at 5.
- In contrast, in the Fortune 500, there were 8 women CEO’s in 2004 and there were 37 by 2020. Clearly an inadequate number but significantly more progress.
- We have made important and critical progress in advancing women while at the same time we see declining numbers of Black CEO’s. This is not for lack of talent. I believe it is for lack of needed development.
- In reality, there are hundreds of Black executives who have the potential to become CEO’s or executives, but fail to receive the development, mentorship, and sponsorship needed to successfully navigate the final climb to the C-suite and CEO.
- When they are fortunate enough to have mentors, they may lack an understanding of the unique challenges Black C-suite executives face.
- The best mentors and guides are current and former Black CEO’s who understand the unique challenges they face with Boards, peers, stakeholders, media and employees.
- Build a learning network and community of 25 Black executives from Fortune 500 companies who have the near, mid-term potential to become CEO’s. Individuals would be nominated by their CEO and Board.
- Typical current roles would include CFO, Business Unit President, and Chief Operating Officer.
- The group would meet 4 times a year (by video near-term and in-person post Covid-19) and have access to the faculty for phone calls, counsel and advice.
- For each session, the group would convene for 5 hours – sessions would include a peer exchange and discussion. A key highlight of each session would be a focused, in-depth moderated discussion on topics identified by the group and would feature a panel of experienced CEOs, C-suite executives, board members and other requested speakers.
- The faculty would be composed of current and former Black CEO’s supplemented by Black C-suite and corporate board members.
The Solution: Leaders Coaching Leaders
- The program is lead Ronald A. Williams, former Chairman and CEO of Aetna. He is a currently Lead Director of American Express, and a Director of Johnson & Johnson and Boeing. He serves as Operating Advisor for Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, where he has served as Chairman of the Board for portfolio companies the firm has successfully monetized and exited. He is the best-selling author of Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization – ranked #7 on the WSJ best-selling business books list.
- The Leaders Coaching Leaders program is being undertaken as a non-profit activity. The initial funding is being provided by the Williams Family Foundation. Discussions are underway with other potential sponsors.
- A fee will be charged for each participant to support the program and fund scholarships for Black MBA students.
- Ron Williams
- Ken Chenault