News story

Changes to the Women's Business Council Announced

The Women's Business Council, an independent body created in 2012, is to be extended and will have a new Chair.

The previous Chair of the Women’s Business Council (WBC), Baroness McGregor-Smith will be stepping down from her role as the Chair of the WBC after 4 years. She will continue to support the WBC as a member and is currently leading a review in to the barriers faced by Black and Minority Ethnic people in the workforce with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Replacing Baroness McGregor-Smith as Chair is Cilla Snowball CBE, Group Chairman and Chief Executive of AMV BBDO, an advertising and communications group. A long-standing and active member of the WBC.

Apart from her responsibilities as Chair of the WBC, Cilla will also sit on the Advisory Group of the Hampton Alexander Review. The Hampton Alexander Review will make recommendations and work with the business community to improve the representation of women:

  • below the board level, at senior layers
  • at boardroom level

of FTSE 350 companies.

The new look WBC brings in 7 new members from a range of industries and from across the UK. The new members reflect a desire to bring more men to the WBC, encouraging senior men to act as visible agents for change. The extended WBC also ensures that industries with a traditional underrepresentation of women are present.

The WBC members are:

  • Cilla Snowball CBE, Group Chairman and CEO, AMV BBDO
  • Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, CEO, Mitie Group plc
  • Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, JP, Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Sue Langley OBE, Non-Executive Chairman, AJ Gallagher
  • Sue O’Brien OBE, Partner, Ridgeway Partners
  • Wendy Hallett MBE, MD, Hallett Retail
  • Jill Shedden, HR Group Director, Centrica
  • Nikki Yates, General Manager UK, GSK
  • Lynne Atkin, HR Director, Barclays
  • Denis Woulfe, Partner, Deloitte
  • Emer Timmons, BT Group Ambassador
  • Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars Food, Drinks and Multi-Sales, Mars
  • Helen Lamprell, Corporate and External Affairs Director, Vodafone Ltd

New Members

  • Dierdre Michie, CEO, Oil and Gas UK
  • Roger Whiteside, CEO, Greggs
  • Rick Lee, HR Director, Willmott Dixon
  • Chris Stylianou, MD, Sky plc
  • John Whelan, UK HR Director, BAE Systems
  • Dr Fiona Withey, MD UK Clinical Services, PCI
  • Dr Clive Hickman, CEO, Manufacturing Technology Centre

Cilla Snowball said:

The refreshed Council will now extend its reach across more sectors than ever before; providing valuable insight into how to tackle the barriers to women’s progression and shining a light on the benefits to business of harnessing the skills, experience and talents of women throughout industry.