Top Selling Pharmaceutical Companies Ranked According to Diversity in Executive Leadership


HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Diversity Council is proud to present “Leading While Diverse: The Case for Diversity in Corporate Governance,” a comprehensive research report ranking top pharmaceutical companies based on their diversity in executive positions and boards of directors. The reputation of multinational pharmaceutical companies is currently one of the lowest, second only to health insurance companies. In order to combat this regression and increase cultural competency, many pharmaceutical companies have begun to launch new multicultural corporate strategies. This report presents a strong business case for the importance of implementing those strategies and gaining a competitive advantage within the industry.

“This type of report is long overdue in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Dennis Kennedy, Founder and Chair of the National Diversity Council. “Bringing attention to the need for diversity and increasing inclusion efforts in global market leadership will make an immense contribution to overall success in business.”

The National Diversity Council ranks the 25 top selling pharmaceutical companies based on the inclusivity of women and people of color. The comprehensive data breakdown focuses on leadership in relation to (1) white women; (2) women of color; (3) people of color and (4) white men. An in-depth analysis of their top leadership positions reveals which companies make the diversity mark and which companies fall short.

Using a census-based biographical approach, the National Diversity Council analyzed the diversity at the top of each company. AbbVie, Merck U.S.A, and Eli Lilly topped the list for People of Color Diversity and Inclusion Rankings (PIDR). Each company’s score was based on people of color on the board of directors and in executive positions. AbbVie claimed the top spot with a 29.2% PIDR. Merck U.S.A and Eli Lilly followed with a 24.2% and 18.2% ranking, respectively.

Gender inclusion is also a major factor in ranking diversity in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to calculate the Gender Diversity and Inclusion Ranking (GDIR), the National Diversity Council identified the number of women on the board of directors and in executive positions. Novo Nordisk surpassed all other companies with a 33.2% GDIR. AstraZeneca trailed closely at 32.3% followed by Eli Lilly at 29.9%.

The National Diversity Council hopes that this type of report will not only make companies aware of where they stand, but encourage them to make a conscious effort to increase diversity within their organizations. The report offers a number of recommendations such as building and maintaining stronger networks and relations with associations that promote the advancement of historically marginalized groups. These recommendations suggest that this focus will assist pharmaceutical companies with maintaining a competitive edge and enhancing their brand for many years to come.

About the National Diversity Council

A non-profit organization committed to fostering a learning environment for organizations to grow in their knowledge of diversity. The council affords opportunities for organizations to share best practices and learn from top corporate leaders in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

More information about the National Diversity Council is available at

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