Press release

Cable reveals most improved FTSE 100 companies appointing women to their boards

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Business must keep up the momentum for representation of women on their boards, according to Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Business must keep up the momentum for representation of women on their boards, according to Business Secretary Vince Cable, as he revealed the top 10 most improved companies.

The results were revealed today (4 February 2015) at an event co-hosted with Lord Davies of Abersoch at Barclays, Canary Wharf. The event provided FTSE chairs with the opportunity to network with a number of aspiring non-executive women, showcasing the extensive talent pool of capable women available to take up boardroom positions.

A new ‘Inspirational Women in Business’ report has also been published alongside the candidates’ event. The report highlights a number of inspiring business women at different stages in their careers and their views on leadership, and provides advice and guidance to those women aspiring to senior business positions.

The top 10 most improved FTSE 100 boards between 2010 and October 2014:

  • Old Mutual
  • Aggreko
  • Glaxosmithkline
  • Wolseley
  • Land Securities Group
  • Associated British Foods
  • Capita
  • Petrofac
  • Weir Group
  • HSBC

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Seeing the enormous progress made by these 10 top FTSE 100 companies demonstrates that the UK’s voluntary, business-led approach is working. Our target of 25% women on boards by 2015 is in sight. However, the threat of EU mandatory targets remains a reality if we do not meet it.

Businesses must not take their foot off the pedal during the final stretch - if we are to avoid action from Brussels we must continue to demonstrate that our voluntary approach is the right one and is working.

I congratulate those FTSE chairs here today and those that have taken action to promote talented women, like those featured in our case study report published today. British businesses must keep up the momentum and alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of those FTSE chairs who are not yet doing their bit to improve gender diversity.

Lord Davies of Abersoch said:

I have never doubted that the UK has plenty of talented senior women, capable and willing to serve on FTSE boards.

In 2011, British business said they could fix this problem on their own and I am delighted we are now seeing evidence of this, with more women being picked to serve on the boards of Britain’s biggest companies.

However the job is not yet done. Strengthening the executive talent pipeline remains the next and longer term challenge.

Patrick O’Sullivan, chairman of Old Mutual said:

Old Mutual aims to recruit and retain staff, at all levels, from as wide a background as possible. Our guiding principle is that successful candidates should be the best qualified for that role and for our business to succeed, our culture has to be one of inclusion and opportunity for all our staff.

I am pleased to say that we now have a board which reflects substantial diversity in terms of skills, experience, geography and gender.

Notes to editors

1.The top 10 most improved FTSE 100 boards between 2010 and October 2014 are:

    Female representation Female representation Female representation
    In 2010 By 2014 A rise of
1 Old Mutual 0.0% 38.5% 38.5% pts
2 Aggreko 0.0% 30.0% 30.0% pts
3 Glaxosmithkline 7.7% 35.7% 28.0% pts
4 Wolseley 0.0% 27.3% 27.3% pts
5 Land Securities Group 8.3% 33.3% 25.0% pts
6= Associated British Foods 0.0% 22.2% 22.2% pts
6= Capita 22.2% 44.4% 22.2% pts
6= Petrofac 0.0% 22.2% 22.2% pts
6= Weir Group 0.0% 22.2% 22.2% pts
10 HSBC 16.7% 37.5% 20.8% pts

2.Data for the top 10 most improved FTSE 100 companies was sourced from:

Data highlights companies that were in the FTSE 100 at the time both those data sources were published. Petrofac moved from FTSE 100 to FTSE 250 in December 2014.

3.The last candidates event took place in April 2014. 20 FTSE chairs attended and 46 senior business women. The event provided FTSE 100 chairs the opportunity to network with a number of aspiring senior women, showcasing the extensive talent pool of capable women available for future FTSE 350 appointments.

4.A case study report ‘Inspirational Women in Business’ was published today by the Davies Review, alongside the Candidates Event. The report highlights a number of inspiring business women at different stages in their careers, their views on leadership and provides advice to those women aspiring to senior business positions.

5.As of October 2014 published statistics show that:

  • FTSE 100 – women’s representation on boards has increased to 22.8% - up from 20.7% in March 2014
  • FTSE 250 – women’s representation on boards has increased to 17.4% - up from 15.6% in March 2014
  • There are no all-male boards in the FTSE 100

The next update of Women on Boards statistics is due to be released in March 2015.

6.More information about the latest statistics and a copy of all Lord Davies reports can be found at ‘Women on Boards reports’.

7.In February 2011, Lord Davies of Abersoch published his report ‘Women on Boards’, which set out a strategy aimed at ensuring that more women were appointed to boardroom positions. He asked all FTSE 350 companies to set targets for the number of women they expected to have on their boards and executive committees in 2015. Lord Davies recommended that FTSE 100 boards should aim for a minimum 25% female representation on their boards by 2015.