FTSE 350 to lay open their plans for female Board representation

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Seven institutional investors in UK listed companies have asked FTSE 350 chairmen to declare their aspirational goals for the representation of women on their boards in 2013 and 2015 by the end of this month. In his report Women on Boards earlier this year, Lord Davies of Abersoch called on these Chairmen to disclose these goals by September. In a joint letter to each FTSE 350 Chairman who has not yet published a statement, the investors said that they were eager to understand plans and support progress on this important and topical issue. Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management and one of those signing the letter, said: “In his recommendations, Lord Davies highlighted the critical role investors play in engaging with company boards. There is a growing body of evidence that greater diversity at a board level can improve corporate financial performance thereby increasing returns to shareholders. Investors are keen to understand how chairmen are responding to this important issue.”
Denise Wilson, non-executive director and member of the Davies steering group, said: “Today, around a third of FTSE100 Chairmen have made a public statement of their goals. We expect many more to do so by the end of September. This letter shows that there is strong investor interest in their response.”
The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance convened the initiative Association.
Penny Shepherd, UKSIF chief executive, added: “Responsible investors are keen to hear company plans and support progress on benefiting from gender diversity at board level. In the light of the European Commission’s recent
Corporate Governance Green Paper, Lord Davies’ recommendations also offer a significant opportunity for UK companies to demonstrate the effectiveness of a ‘comply or explain’ approach compared with the use of gender quotas.”
Women on Boards (February 2011) is the report of an independent review byLord Davies of Abersoch into gender diversity on the boards of UK listedcompanies. The review took place at the invitation of the UK Government.
(Article: David Woods, HR Magazine. September 21st, 2011)

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