ATLANTA, February 17, 2021—Officials of Castell Project, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry, today released the “Diversity of Hospitality Industry Public Company Boards 2021” report.  The statistical document presents data about hospitality industry public company boards and compares statistics to 2020 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index produced by 2020 WOB (

“The pressure to diversify boards by both race and gender is likely to intensify,” said Peggy Berg, chair, Castell Project, Inc.  “Currently, it is easier for Boards to be gender diverse than racially diverse.  Women are 51 percent of the US population, while Black people account for 13 percent.  However, more than 40 percent of the US population identifies as ‘other-than white,’ and the ratio is growing.  Although social consciousness may play a role, the compelling case is to align the makeup of corporate boards with the industry’s diverse marketplace and talent pool.”


 To benchmark the hospitality industry’s status, Castell Project looked at female, Black and Asian representation on corporate boards of public hospitality companies based in the US.  Data is sourced from 10-K filings and Internet searches of individual board members and executives.  This data set covers 31+ public hospitality companies over five years.


  • In the hospitality industry, white men have been the majority of people selected for public board positions every year, including years when women and Black people have made the greatest gains.
  • Hospitality public companies and the Russell 3000 Index average 23 percent women board members.
  • Only 11 of 31 hospitality public boards have Black representation. There is no correlation to company size.
  • The inclusion of both Black and female hospitality board members peaked in 2019, but progress nearly stalled in 2020.
  • Founders or sons of founders are chairs or directors on the boards of 19 of the 31 public hospitality companies (61 percent).
  • The three largest hospitality public companies by both 10-K filings of assets and revenues have the most gender-diverse boards. Similarly, the largest companies on the Russell 3000 Index have made more progress on board gender diversity than smaller companies.
  • Chairmanship of publicly-traded, hospitality companies in the U.S. is rare for Black and/or female board members. There are three Black board chairs, one of whom is the only female chair.

“Benchmarking where we stand as an industry encourages progress,” Berg noted.  “While the pandemic created additional hurdles for women and minority hospitality workers, we seem to be moving in the right direction overall.  Momentum will grow for corporate boards that better relate to the actual market.  We will get there.”

A full copy of the report can be found on the Castell Project website at


Castell Project, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women to the highest levels within the hospitality industry.  With support from industry partners, Castell Project inspires diverse hospitality college students, delivers impactful leadership development programs for women, and publishes innovative research on diversity in the hospitality industry.

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