Industry leaders back growth through diversity


4th July 2012

The 30% Club celebrates over 50 Chairman supporting the campaign and just 145 more FTSE 100 female board members to achieve 30%

Last night saw David de Rothschild host a celebration to mark over 50 Chairmen signing up to support the 30% Club’s diversity initiative. This represents a milestone in the Club’s history, which set out in 2009 to increase women on UK Corporate boards to 30% through a business-led approach. The event, attended by supporters including the Home Secretary The Rt Hon. Theresa May, Centrica Chairman Sir Roger Carr and Lloyds Chairman Sir Win Bischoff, also celebrated the sharp acceleration in the pace of female Board appointments. Since March 1st 2012, 44% of FTSE 100 and 40% of FTSE 250 Board appointments have gone to women, compared with 30% in 2011 and just 13% in 2010*. This leaves only 145 more female FTSE 100 appointments needed to reach the 30% target, and 91 to reach Lord Davies’ 25% figure*. At the end of June the figures for FTSE 100 had increased to 16.7% of women on their boards (up from 12.5% in 2010), and all-male boards are now down from 21 to 8 (since 2010)*. Amongst the attendees was a host of supporting FTSE Chairmen including those of Marks & Spencer, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte and HSBC along with former President of the CBI and Chairman of UBM, Dame Helen Alexander and Baroness Sarah Hogg, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council. Other items on the agenda ranged from the continuing drive for more diversity to the ever increasing need for ongoing cultural adaptation in the workplace. The 30% Club highlight the need for men, as well as women, to adapt and evolve as technology enables differing working practices. It is evident that successful businesses need more senior women but changes in working environment are necessary to enable companies to achieve this effectively.

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May said:

“I’m delighted to help the 30% club celebrate this significant milestone. The fact that over 50 Chairmen are now supporting this initiative shows that diversity in the boardroom is increasingly becoming a mainstream idea. More women on a company’s board is not just good for society; it’s also good for that company’s bottom line.”

“An ever-growing number of businesses are realising this and – voluntarily – taking action. There is still a long way to go, but it’s heartening to see the enthusiasm with which so many companies are embracing change and putting women at the heart of our economic future.”

Helena Morrissey, CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club commented: “The sharp acceleration in the proportion of new appointments going to well-qualified women shows that companies are embracing change and recognising that a well-balanced board enhances all areas of their business. Diversity of boards and senior management teams is one element that will bring cultural change in order to build companies with more effective and responsible approaches to clients, shareholders and employees.” “Although these figures are encouraging, if companies want more women at senior levels, they will have to be open to embracing practices which accommodate the expectations of their staff as well as their stakeholders. Technology can facilitate companies creating a working environment that will enable employees, of either gender, to feel able to succeed while respecting other areas of their lives.”

*Professional Boards Forum “BoardWatch” – 26th June 2012

Please click here to view a short film on the 30% Club.

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