Theresa May revealed the appointment this morning during the launch of Cranfield University’s 2012 report into the number of women on the boards of the country’s top companies.
It comes as figures published today show the biggest ever jump in the percentage of women on boards over the past year - from 12.5 per cent to 15.6 per cent.
The Home Secretary said: ‘The Women’s Business Council will advise the government on how to maximise women’s contribution to our future economic growth.
‘I know a lot of business people have ideas for increasing women’s economic potential. I want to harness those ideas. That’s what the new council will do.
‘Ruby McGregor-Smith will bring exceptional drive and leadership to this important new initiative, which I believe will be a really positive move for women in business, for women’s enterprise and for our economy as a whole.’
The Women’s Business Council will identify barriers and challenges that prevent women from achieving their economic potential and will come up with ideas for overcoming those obstacles.
Ruby McGregor-Smith won last year’s Business Leader of the Year at the Orange National Business Awards and is the chief executive of MITIE Group.
She said: ‘The work of the council will focus how we can drive economic growth by developing the pipeline of female talent and support more women to succeed in business.
‘The new council will be a focused, one-year working group, with the sole aim of ensuring real action by government, business and others to maximise women’s contribution to economic growth.’
Today also saw the launch of the Lord Davies one year on report.