Lord Browne: Corporate board members should come out of the closet

Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP and member of Out Leadership’s Global Advisory Board, has penned an op-ed in Fortune encouraging LGBT corporate board members to make their sexual orientation or gender identity publicly known.

“Out Leadership estimates that there are fewer than 10 openly LGBT members of corporate boards in the entire Fortune 500–less than 0.3% of all board members. In comparison, conservative estimates suggest 4% to 5% of the entire U.S. population identifies as part of the LGBT community.

This says that either LGBT people are not rising to the top of the most successful businesses, or that they do not feel they’re able to come out as they aspire to the most senior position.  In either case, companies should be very concerned.

An absence of visible examples of LGBT diversity at the very top of an organization hurts a company’s ability to recruit from the widest possible talent pool of the brightest graduates. When LGBT people cannot see that others like them have been able to reach the top, they might well choose an employer with a better record on LGBT inclusion.”

Read Lord Browne’s entire op-ed in Fortune