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NEW Leadership Research Series Report

2011 Fortune 500 API Executive Officers and Top Earners

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Download the key findings
Download the full report (12 pages)
Download the press release  

Key Findings

  • Only 79 companies in the Fortune 500 had API representation at the executive officer level.
  • In 2011, there were 99 executive officers (2 percent) of API descent.
  • Thirteen API executive officers served as Chief Executive Officer at their company.
    Of those, three were women.
  • Only 51 APIs were identified by their company as one of the top five highest compensated executive officers (top earners). Of those, four were women.
  • Fifteen Fortune 500 companies had two or more API executive officers in their company: PepsiCo, Merck, Aflac, Jabil Circuit, Consolidated Edison, Yum Brands, Applied Materials, Synnex, Stanley Black & Decker, Boston Scientific, Dover, Broadcom, Franklin Resources, SanDisk and Cognizant Technology Solutions.
  • Fifty percent of Cognizant Technology Solutions executive officers were of API descent.
    Of those, three were also identified as top earners, more than any other company in the Fortune 500.

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About Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs)

People of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) descent make up more than half the world’s population and 6 percent (18.5 million) of the total U.S. population. According to the 2010 Census, the Asian American population in the United States grew 46 percent between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other major race group in the country, including Hispanics. The Census Bureau’s latest population projections estimate APIs to reach 41 million by 2050.

There are several terms that are used referring to this community: Asian, Asian American, Asian Pacific Islander, Asian Pacific Islander American, Asian Pacific American and Asian American and Pacific Islander American to name a few. There are two major groups that comprise the community: Asian and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Asian category as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent,” which includes over 20 different ethnic groups.  Southeast Asian generally includes Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian and Vietnamese.  South Asian generally includes Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Pakistani, and Sri Lankan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the largest Asian groups in the U.S. include: Chinese (23.5%), Asian Indian (18.8%), Filipino (17.1%), Vietnamese (11%), Korean (9.9%) and Japanese (5.3%).

The Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islandercategory is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands,” which includes 20 different ethnic groups. Native Hawaiian (30.9%), Samoan (22.6%) and Chamorro or Guamanian (14.3%) are the largest Pacific Islander groups in the country.


LEAP made every effort to achieve a high degree of accuracy. Information on race, ethnicity and gender composition of board members is not always publicly available. If errors or omissions are discovered, LEAP will make necessary adjustments. 

Please contact the report author, Rima K. Matsumoto, Vice President of Research and Strategic Alliances at (202) 412-4190 or via email at rmatsumoto@leap.org

Download Full Report (12 Pages): PDF

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