Monday, 21 February 2011

UK: gender diversity on listed company boards - Lord Davies' report due this week

Several of yesterday's and today's newspapers report on the publication later this week of Lord Davies' recommendations to promote increased participation by women on the boards of listed companies: see here (Observer), here (Independent on Sunday), here (Telegraph) and here (Financial Times). According to the Financial Times report, Lord Davies will recommend that at least 20% of FTSE350 company directors should be women in two years' time. The Telegraph reports that the Association of British Insurer's Institutional Voting Information Service will begin monitoring boards' approach to diversity this year.

Lord Davies is quoted in the Observer's report:

Chairmen have got to be more creative in looking for talented women ... Shareholders have not put enough pressure on boards and on chairmen on this issue. Institutional investors should be asking more questions about this at annual general meetings". 

In the Telegraph he is quoted thus:

The reason I am not in favour of quotas is when you talk to the vast majority of women they are against it. Only 11pc of the submissions that we had were in favour of quotas. So I think the vast majority of women are vehemently opposed. I think there is a danger of it smacking of tokenism and board appointments should be based on merit. The best way is collective responsibility to tackle a serious problem. We want to see real execution of change in the next year or so. That will be a better achievement. However if we don't do it then the Government has the threat of quotas and that should be enough".

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