Skip to Main Content

2023 S&P 500 New Director and Diversity Snapshot

August 2023

Today’s boards face an increasingly complex business environment, an intensifying regulatory environment and growing activism by investors and other stakeholders. In response, they are focusing on their own composition and taking a strategic approach to director appointments. Highlights from the 2023 S&P 500 New Director & Diversity Snapshot include:

  • Financial expertise and CEOs are in demand
    Active and retired executives with CEO experience are in demand, with appointments returning to 2018 levels and reversing several years of decline. 30% of new directors appointed in 2023 are active or retired CEOs and 27% have a financial background.
  • Diversity continues to be important
    67% percent of this year’s class of new directors are diverse, defined by Nasdaq as directors who self-identify as female and/or underrepresented minorities (Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or two or more races or ethnicities), and/or LGBTQ+.
  • The percentage of women on S&P 500 boards continues to rise
    46% of new independent directors are women. This is a 92% increase in 10 years. Female directors now account for 33% of all S&P 500 directors, up one point from last year. This is an 83% increase from a decade ago.
  • A larger share of new directors have international experience
    S&P 500 boards continue to strengthen their global outlook. Among new independent directors appointed in 2023, 54% have spent time working at an international location — a four-point increase from last year.
  • The proportion of next-generation directors has declined
    The proportion of next-gen new directors (those aged 50 or under) has dropped more than a third. They account for 11% of the incoming class of 2023, down from 18% in 2022.

Related Insights

Now in its 38th year, the U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index examines the latest data and trends in board composition, board governance practices and director compensation among S&P 500 companies.