Lord Davies’ final summary report on increasing the representation of women on the boards of FTSE companies will make interesting reading for many of those organisations conducting a corporate governance review or taking advantage of any of London Registrars’ other governance and compliance services.
Women on boards: 5 year summary was issued on 29th October 2015, with the Government fully supporting all of its recommendations – including a new target for the proportion of women on the boards of the UK’s 350 biggest companies (the FTSE 350) to reach 33% by 2020. This would amount to about 350 more women board members.
Back in 2011, Lord Davies had set a target of 25% of FTSE 100 board positions being filled by women, which was reached earlier in 2015. There is now more than double the number of women on FTSE 350 boards than four years ago, thanks to 550 new female appointments.
Lord Davies described the fulfilment of his FTSE 100 target six months early as “truly amazing progress”, adding: “I cannot thank the many, many businessmen and businesswomen enough for their significant and collective contribution. It has been a privilege to lead this campaign.”
Meanwhile, women and equalities minister Nicky Morgan hailed Lord Davies as “an inspirational champion”, adding: “he has thrown the gauntlet down to business and pushed them to do more than ever before.” She added that the Government fully supported his recommendations “because we are clear, that in order to deliver our commitment to extending opportunity we must do more to secure equality for women in the workplace and beyond.”
The report’s recommendations could be divided into five key areas, including a five-year extension to the national call for action and voluntary, business-led approach, as well as the aforementioned increase of the voluntary target for women’s representation in FTSE 350 boardrooms.
There was also a focus on encouraging FTSE 350 companies to apply the best practice seen at board level to the improvement in the representation of women at executive level, with the current 9.6% proportion having been described by Susan Vinnicombe CBE, Professor of Women and Leadership at Cranfield, as “just not acceptable”.
The report also recommended that an independent steering body – comprising business and subject matter experts – be reconvened “to support business in their efforts”, reviewing Lord Davies’ other recommendations in consultation with key stakeholders, and publishing “more detailed comments as appropriate, at the beginning of 2016.”