Bloomberg News

Women Hold Just 9% of Top Posts at 350 Largest U.K. Companies

October 12, 2011

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Women account for just nine percent of all board members at Britain’s 350 largest companies even as research shows companies with women in senior roles perform better, according to Deloitte LLP.

Almost half of Britain’s 350 largest companies have no women directors while a fifth of all companies in the benchmark FTSE 100 Index had no female directors, Deloitte said today in a report entitled Board Structure and Non-Executive Directors’ Fees. Women account for nine percent of all board members at FTSE 350 companies, compared with five percent a decade ago. At the current growth rate, it will take another 20 years for representation to increase to 30 percent, Deloitte said.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday called on companies to appoint more women directors, as a progress report showed they are not meeting the target set by a government-appointed panel. The panel, led by former Standard Chartered Plc Chairman Mervyn Davies, recommended in February that a third of all new directors should be female. Women have made up 22.5 percent of board appointments by FTSE 250 companies since then, according to a report yesterday by Cranfield University.

“The number of companies where there are no female board members is quite shocking,” Carol Arrowsmith, remuneration partner at Deloitte, said in the report. “There is a wealth of research which demonstrates companies with women in senior positions perform better.”

The government panel said in February that FTSE 100 companies should seek to double the percentage of women board members to at least 25 percent. Of the 250 appointments made at FTSE 350 listed companies since February, excluding investment trusts, about 20 percent were women, Deloitte said.

About a quarter of all non-executive directors appointed in the period were women, compared with a tenth of the executive positions filled. Women now represent 12 percent of non- executive and 5 percent of executive directors of companies on the FTSE 350 Index, the study said.

The report is based on information from the latest report and accounts of companies the FTSE 350 as at 1 July 2011, excluding 49 investment trusts, said Deloitte in an e-mailed statement.

--Editors: Tim Farrand, Peter Branton

To contact the reporter on this story: Namitha Jagadeesh at njagadeesh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net


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