Women, once a rarity on corporate boards, have made real gains in recent years following concerted campaigns by big investors to increase gender diversity and state legislation that set targets.

Now, after the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the racial makeup of boards is getting a closer look, too.

Mike Magsig, who leads the board- and CEO-search practice at executive recruiting firm DHR International, says he received half a dozen requests in the weeks after the Floyd protests from boards looking for help diversifying. Barry Lawson Williams, 76, who recently retired from the last of 14 public company boards after almost 40 years of service, said he too has been getting more requests to help companies find Black directors.

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