Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Women bosses boost female places in boardroom

Having a female boss makes it more likely that there will be more women on your board, according to new research.

Headhunter Spencer Stuart, which compiles an annual report reviewing governance at the UK’s largest listed companies, found that boards have significantly more female directors where the chief executive or chairman is also a woman. The proportion of women serving as non-executive directors at the UK’s top 150 public companies has reached 29.9 per cent, up from 17.5 per cent in 2011. On the six boards where there is a female chairman, such as Shire, led by Susan Kilsby, Land Securities and St James Place, just under 40 per cent of non-executives are women. In companies where there is a female chief executive, 35.4 per cent of executive committee members are women. In 2016, 30 per cent of non-executive directors were women, but only 8 per cent of executive directors. The data support persistent concerns that appointing more women to boards has had little effect on the gender imbalance at senior management level. 

“This reflects the fact that the majority of companies at the top of the FTSE have a truly global footprint and boards have long understood the importance of having directors with knowledge and experience of strategic markets,” the research said. A quarter of chief executives are foreign, as are 17 per cent of chairmen. Fifteen companies have both a foreign chairman and a foreign CEO. Mr Dawkins said the Britain’s exit from the EU was unlikely to diminish the international scope of FTSE 150 businesses, and thus the need for foreign expertise on domestic boards. “The signs are, from the thinking we see among nominations committees in the FTSE 150, that the proportion of non-UK directors will continue to rise, in line with the businesses’ increasing foreign exposure, possibly spurred by the weakness of sterling,” he said. Only 23 directors at the top 150 FTSE companies are black, Asian or from another minority ethnic group, representing just 1.6 per cent of all directors. Fifty other directors were from BAME backgrounds, but were not British citizens. The question of broader ethnic representation has come under greater scrutiny with the release of Sir John Parker’s review into board diversity this month. Just nine people of colour hold the role of chair or chief executive at FTSE 100 companies and more than half have no minority ethnic directors at all.
New Zealand boards still have a long way to go.

Source: Financial Times