Appointments see female board review move to next level

The follow-up to the Women on Boards Review appoints Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander to lead the next phase.

Chair of GlaxoSmithKline and former chair of RBS and Sainsbury's, Sir Philip Hampton, will lead an independent review on boosting female representation at executive level in FTSE 350 companies.Dame Helen Alexander, chair of multinational media company UBM, a non-executive director of Rolls-Royce Group plc, Huawei UK and a senior adviser to Bain Capital, is appointed the review's deputy chair.The terms of reference for the review are yet to be finalised. However, its overall aims are to continue to champion work to improve representation of women on FTSE 350 boards and to consider options for building the talent pipeline, focussing on improving representation of women in the executive layer of FTSE 350 companies.The new review will build on Lord Davies' Women on Boards Review. This recommended a business-led target of 33 per cent female representation on all FTSE 350 boards by 2020. This would promote around 350 more women to top positions.Sir Philip Hampton said, "I will focus on improving representation in the executive layer of companies, as well as maintaining the momentum on boards. This means looking at the talent pipeline for female executives and emerging non-executive directors to ensure we create opportunities and the right conditions for women to succeed."Over the four-year period of Lord Davies' independent business-led review, which filed its final report in October, female representation on FTSE 100 boards rose from 12.5 per cent to surpass its 25 per cent target.Responding to the new appointments, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, restated the importance of diversity in good decision-making. "Diverse voices make for better business decisions – that's why it's right to focus on getting more women in executive roles, because they take daily decisions, shape and define strategy, and influence culture through the everyday examples that they set."Sir Philip and Dame Helen are both hugely experienced and passionate advocates for diversity – we look forward to working with them during the review, which should seek to build upon the success of Lord Davies' work by establishing a target of 25 per cent female senior executives in major UK companies."Highlighting the importance of greater female participation across all levels for improving the UK's competitiveness, Business Secretary, MP Sajid Javid, said, "The employment rate for women has never been higher and there are now more women on FTSE boards than ever before. But we need to go further, particularly when it comes to paving the way to the executive level."Companies cannot afford to miss out on the skills and talent of the whole population if the UK is going to compete in a fast-moving global economy. This is not just about diversity for diversity's sake, but about improving performance and productivity."Women and Equalities Minister, MP Nicky Morgan, also commented, "Having more women on FTSE boards allows companies to benefit from the enormous wealth of talent these women offer, and means these women can act as powerful role models for the next generation of girls."We have come a long way but we must do more to make sure women everywhere are able to fulfil their potential. I want to see an end to all male boards anywhere on the FTSE 350, and much more progress at the executive layer where we know progress has been slowest to date."Men have a critical role to play in this and I look forward to working with Sir Philip and his team on this incredibly important agenda."

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