About a third of FTSE 100 companies have no ethnic minority representation on their boards, according to The Parker Review Committee.
It found that just 31 of 83 firms which provided information have a director of colour.
It had previously set the target of 2021 for all members of the blue-chip index to have ethnic representation on their board.
But the target “still looks a pretty tall climb”, committee chair Sir John Parker told The Today Programme this morning.
“There are some leaders who want to wait and see and let others take the lead and thankfully there are those who take the lead,” he said.
“There will be a few who will wait till the bitter end because they’re not totally convinced that it’s the right thing to do, but they will move as they did on women on boards when they see widespread adoption,” he added.