A recently published report as cited in the ICSA Chartered Secretary Magazine reveals that female board appointments in FTSE 100 companies have doubled in 2011 so far, reports company secretarial services provider London Registrars (http://www.london-registrars.co.uk/). Although women have taken 23 of the new FTSE 100 board appointments (equating to 30 per cent) since the start of the year, compared to just 18 for the whole of last year, it is still some way off Lord Davies’ target of a 25 per cent female representation on FTSE 350 boards.
As London Registrars highlighted some time ago, the UK government’s Davies Review was designed to analyse gender equality on the boards of UK listed companies. The report concluded that FTSE 250 boards should aim to have a minimum of 25 per cent female representation by 2013 and 2015. These latest findings are no doubt as a direct result of the Davies Review and on one level they are encouraging: the number of FTSE 100 companies without a woman on the board has fallen to 14 from 21 at the end of 2010. However, women still only make up 13.9 per cent of FTSE 100 board members, and a meagre 8.7 per cent when taking into account the FTSE 250.
As a provider of company secretarial services, London Registrars advises its clients on the UKCorporate Governance Code. The recommendations arising from the Davies report, although not a legally binding mandatory quota system, will soon be adopted within this code. While Lord Davies is encouraged by these latest findings, he made it clear that it would not alleviate the pressure on any companies not in compliance: “Post August, I intend to make sure I keep the pressure up and there is going to be a bit of naming and shaming of companies not supporting it, he said. There will be an event in the autumn that will make the corporate sector realise the Government has not forgotten”, he warned. “All members of the Government want to make sure that companies realise this is not just about publication of the report, but about a long-term transformation of the boardroom. This is a continuous issue that’s not going to go away”.