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More women directors in FTSE-100 in 2011


Summary of story from London Evening Standard, January 10, 2012

A survey has found that there are now more women working in the UK’s most powerful boardrooms than ever before.

In the past 12 months almost 100 women became directors of top companies in Britain.

This breakthrough comes after a report from former trade and industry minister Lord Davies, commissioned by the UK government last February, advised big businesses that 25 per cent of their directors should be women by 2015 (see WVoN story).

Consequently, women have been appointed to the boards of some of the country’s biggest and most powerful companies, including Shell, HSBC and GlaxoSmithKline.

Last year, 27 per cent of appointments to the boards of FTSE-100 companies were women, 15 per cent of FTSE-100 directors are now female, and only 10 firms have all-male boards.

Across the FTSE-100 and the FTSE-250, there were 98 female appointments in 2011.

Among these are Stacey Cartwright, the finance director of Burberry who joined GlaxoSmithKline’s board; Sarah Ellard, who was appointed to the board of defence company Chemring; and Lucinda Bell, finance director of property developer British Land, who also secured an executive position.

Elin Hurvenes, founder of the Professional Boards Forum, which conducted the BoardWatch survey, said the traditionally male-dominated culture at the top of the private sector had changed dramatically.

“There has never been a shortage of talent – only a lack of recognition of the skills and experience that women can bring to UK boards,” she said.

“The pool of board-ready women is impressive and chairmen have definitely started to recognise this.”

The findings come 15 years after Marjorie Scardino became the first female chief executive of a FTSE-100 company by taking the helm at Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times newspaper.

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