Chuka Umunna
Lord Mervyn Davies has agreed to lead the investigation, according to the Shadow Business SecretaryReuters

A Labour government would hold a review into ethnic diversity in British business leadership, according to Chuka Umunna.

The Shadow Business Secretary, speaking at the KPMG Asian Festival Dinner, announced that Lord Mervyn Davies, who headed a review into gender diversity on UK boards, agreed to lead the investigation.

"We cannot carry on with the situation where half of all FTSE 100 companies do not have a single non-white director and just one in 15 management positions is filled by people of colour," said Umunna.

"This is not just a problem for large corporations, it is a problem for British business as a whole.

"When they tell me it's a problem of the talent pipeline, I'll tell them about the people in this room.

"It's a fixable problem, and it is a problem we will fix."

The comments come after a study of the top 10,000 executives in Britain's top firms revealed a deep "diversity deficit".

The study, commissioned by the executive recruitment consultancy Green Park, found that, amongst 289 key executives in the FTSE100 who occupy the posts of chairman, chief executive and chief financial officer, just a dozen are women.

The research also revealed that more than half of FTSE100 companies have no non-white leaders at board level, whether executive or non-executive.

In addition, the report found that women and minority leaders feature disproportionately as non-executive board directors: as a consequence their true level of influence is far smaller than their numbers suggest.

The Business Secretary Vince cable plans to launch an initiative in December to boost the number of ethnic minorities into the UK's top boardrooms, according to The Guardian.

The Liberal Democrat MP wants one in five directors of FTSE 100 companies to come from an ethnic minority within five years.