FTSE 100 Falls Short on Diversity at the Top With Just Eight Female CEOs, Report Says -- Financial News
By Emily Nicolle
Of Financial News
Only eight of the City's top 100 businesses are run by women, as
firms fail to make strides toward greater diversity among the
The proportion of female executive directors across the FTSE 100
has flatlined at 14% for the second consecutive year, according to
a report by Cranfield School of Management on Thursday.
Research conducted for the year to July 20 found the group of
top listed companies had only eight female chief executives,
including NatWest Group PLC's Alison Rose and Aviva PLC's Amanda
Blanc, and 15 chief financial officers or finance directors.
While the proportion of female nonexecutive directors on FTSE
100 boards was at an all-time high at 44%, with 14% of chairs and
35% of those chairing board committees being women, there are still
too few women in senior leadership positions such as chair, chief
executive and chief financial officer, the report says.
Alison Kay, EY's managing partner for client service in the U.K.
and Ireland said the latest research shows that progress in
executive roles is "actually far more of an important metric than
the number of women on boards as a whole."
"The lack of female representation in executive roles is
particularly striking, especially when the presence of women in
senior positions, critically the role of CEO and chairperson, was
noted to be a strong and influential driver," said Ms. Kay.
Firms across financial services have been urged to do more to
tackle diversity issues, as the Financial Conduct Authority and the
Bank of England consider enshrining such aims within
Policymakers have proposed that executives should be required to
tie their pay to meeting inclusion targets, making those at the top
directly accountable for falling short.
"Tracking and measuring diversity against targets are now a bare
minimum on this agenda for all companies, but steps to uncover the
invisible barriers to career progression for women and drive
inclusion are the real game changers," Ms. Kay said.
Industry-wide initiatives to combat the lack of gender diversity
across the FTSE 350 have largely floundered during the
More than half of the firms signed up to boost the number of
women in top roles as part of the Women in Finance Charter last
year failed to do so within that timeframe, including City
stalwarts such as Credit Suisse AG, Deloitte LLP and
In the FTSE 100, drinks firm Diageo PLC was the leading company
when it came to diversity, with 60% of board positions filled by
women. Online grocery challenger Ocado Group PLC's board was bottom
of the list, at only 17%.
Cranfield's Female FTSE Board Report recommended that more
company boards prioritize succession planning and talent
management, using a meritocratic approach to create greater gender
"Women on boards encourage the appointment of women into
executive roles, and the other way around. Talent management and
robust succession planning are vital if women and other diverse
people are to be promoted into executive roles," said Sue
Vinnicombe, professor of women and leadership at Cranfield, the
report's lead author.
"There is clearly now a pipeline of experienced women
non-executive directors, so why are so few of them promoted to
leadership of the board? I am sure that all chairs and CEOs of FTSE
companies understand the business case for gender diversity at an
intellectual level, but do they really believe in it, and are they
willing to invest serious effort into achieving it?"
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 07, 2021 06:53 ET (10:53 GMT)
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