The number of directorships held by women at companies in the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 index has risen to 15.6 percent and is on course to reach the target of 25 percent by 2015 recommended in a report a year ago.
There are now 141 women holding 163 board seats out of a total of 1,086 positions at FTSE 100 companies, Cranfield University School of Management said in a report published today. The percentage of women directors is up from about 12.5 percent last year, while the number of companies with no women on their board has fallen to 11.
“I’m delighted by this unprecedented progress,” Home Secretary Theresa May said in an e-mailed statement. “While there’s still much to be done, today we should celebrate just how far we have come.”
Prime Minister David Cameron warned last month that companies may face quotas unless they promote more women to board level, meeting the 25 percent voluntary target set in a February 2011 report by Mervyn Davies.
A quarter of the new board appointments in the year to January were women, today’s Cranfield study showed. If that momentum continues, 26.7 percent of directors could be women by 2015, beating the Davies target, according to the report.
The FTSE 100 company with the biggest female presence on its board is Diageo Plc (DGE), the world’s biggest distiller, with four women out of nine directors, according to today’s study. In second place is Burberry Group Plc (BRBY), the U.K.’s largest luxury- goods maker, with three out of eight.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Buckle in Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at email@example.comIn second place is Burberry Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest luxury-goods maker, with three out of eight women on its board. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg