Reshaping the C-Suite: Diversity on Executive Boards


The hospitality industry is constantly changing, with executives always searching for ways to better level the playing field. And change, of course, starts at the top. In recent years, many major hotel companies have zeroed in on diversity and inclusion in tangible ways. A recent study conducted by AETHOS Consulting Group, a hospitality-focused executive search and advisory firm, has concluded that the level of diversity present on executive boards has dramatically increased over the past five years.

AETHOS’ study examines several different categories of corporate governance, giving them a score for each category and total score. For a company to achieve a top score in the diversity category, they must have multiple female board members, and at least one other board member who is also a person of color. A company would not be able to achieve a full score by simply having one board member who qualifies as diverse. Some of the top performers in the diversity category include Wyndham Worldwide, Marriott International, and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

“Probably five years ago, no one would have gotten a full score in diversity, but we’ve made progress, and out of 54 companies, you have ten that made great strides,” says Keith Kefgen managing director and CEO of AETHOS. Kefgen has been conducting these studies for the past 15 years.

“It was impressive to see a lot of change even since last year,” says Kefgen. “A lot has happened in the last 15 years, but in the last five, really, activists like ourselves talking about these issues have helped move things forward,” he says.

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