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Lloyd’s appoints its first female chief exec


Lloyd's appoints its first female chief executiveAfter 325 years of male leadership, a female head of Lloyd’s of London.

Inga Beale is a 30-year veteran of the insurance industry, and she takes leadership of the world’s largest insurance market, Lloyd’s of London.

Only 40 years after the first woman, Liliana Archibald, began working as a broker in the company.

In an interview Beale gave while in her previous role as chief executive of the Canopius Group, she mentioned the business case for more diverse leadership.

“It’s good to have diversity, not just on the gender side.

“Different people approach things differently and provide alternate views – diverse boards help companies makes better decisions, which affect the bottom line.”

While Beale’s appointment has been applauded, executive director of Catalyst Europe Sibylle Rupprecht’s reaction reveals a weariness in the on-going battle for gender equality; “All I want for Christmas is to stop counting the firsts for women in leadership.

“The advancement of women isn’t hard; it just requires intentional focus and leadership. And it can literally pay off.”

Moya Greene, chief executive of Royal Mail and one of only four female FTSE 100 chief executives, agreed.

She lays the onus for equality on executives, saying; “There is no shortage of great female talent in Britain.

“If people like me, when they get the list from executive recruiters, do not ask ‘Where are the women?’ who is going to say it?”

Part of Lord Davies’ 2011 review of women on boards recommended a minimum of 25 per cent female board membership by 2015.

Following that announcement, the percentage of women in the FTSE 100 increased fairly quickly, from around 12 per cent to more than 17 per cent.

However, in the years since, the rate of growth has slowed considerably, with the percentage of women in senior leadership positions hovering around 19 per cent.

The 2011 recommendations were voluntary for businesses, with Davies’ review saying that mandatory quotas were unnecessary unless voluntary participation proved ineffective.

With only a year to go, it appears likely that many companies will to fail to reach the recommended 25 per cent rate of female representation.

As Rupprecht said, “The statistics tell us that without a focused intent on making this a priority, change is simply not going to happen.

“Can we afford to keep ‘giving it time?’’

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