Wednesday, 20 March 2013

And then there were 11 ... the falling number of women leading Britain's top businesses ...

Marjorie Scardino left Pearson in 2012
It hasn't felt like a great year for women at the very top of British business.

There have been some outstanding commercial results - Louise Makin at BTG and Kate Swann at WH Smith stand out - but the number of women CEOs has fallen.

Marjorie Scardino left Pearson in late 2012 and Cynthia Carroll Anglo-America in February. Kate Swann has announced she will leave WH Smith in June this year after almost 10 years in which she has transformed the company's fortunes.

These departures reduce the number of FTSE 350 companies led by women to 11, just 3% of the total ...
  1. Louise Makin BTG
  2. Angela Ahrendts Burberry
  3. Dido Harding Talk Talk
  4. Carolyn McCall Easy Jet
  5. Ruby McGregor-Smith MITIE
  6. Harriet Green Thomas Cook
  7. Dorothy Thompson DRAX
  8. Caroline Banszky Law Debenture
  9. Alison Cooper Imperial Tobacco
  10. Lyn Fordham SVG Capital
  11. Katherine Garrett-Cox Alliance Trust
There are certainly some very able women serving as executive directors and particularly CFOs of FTSE 350 companies but there numbers are increasing very slowly.

The % of women executive directors has increased from just 5.5% to 5.8% since the publication of the Davies Report in 2011.  Only 8% of executive appointments over this period have been women.

Unless we see significant growth in the number of women executive directors, it is very hard to see from where the next generation of women CEOs will come.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like ...

The Mums Who Are Beating the FTSE
Holding the Purse Strings ... Women CFOs
Where are the Women Execs?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Identifying and celebrating the business leaders who work part time – your help needed!

A guest post by Karen Mattison, MBE, the founder of Timewise Jobs 


Karen Mattison
Karen Mattison, Timewise Jobs
Timewise is leading a search to find 50 vibrant and exciting examples of senior level part time working. We are building a ‘Power Part Time list’, that will prove that senior part time working not only can, but is already being done, right here in the UK.

Why are we doing it? Because the perception in the UK of what kinds of jobs can be worked on ‘less than 5 full days a week’ basis, is vastly out of kilter with what’s actually happening on the ground. Thousands of business leaders, are sparking innovative new thinking in terms of People and talent acquisition. Tech giants, law firms and leading financiers are all moving towards patterns of work that involve looking out the key outputs needed first, and how the employee gets there, second.  Look to today’s most-quoted business heroes – Google, Apple, innocent – these are businesses that are re-writing the rulebook, not just on what product can sell, but on how to be the best, and how best to work.

Yet, the stigma of admitting to working part time hours, remains. There are an estimated 650,000 people in the UK who are working in senior level part time jobs. We recently conducted a study amongst people earning between £40,000 FTE and £200,000 FTE. A third refuse to call themselves ‘part time’. A figure that rises to 67 per cent, amongst those earning at least £75,000 FTE. All this, in spite of the fact that 90 per cent say ‘I hit all my targets and enjoy success within my hours of work.”
There is a stigma attached to the words ‘part time’ which generates the misconception that part time work ‘is only for low skill roles’. We aim to bust this myth, via our Power Part Time list. 

We are searching for 50 vibrant, exciting examples of senior part time working, to prove that many of Britain’s leading employers, have already embraced it. Please do help us – there are just 2 weeks left in which to make nominations, and doing so is free, quick and easy! Just visit the page about our search here, email, or call 0207 633 4553 and request a nomination form.
It’s time to get behind the innovators and pioneers who are inventing the next big thing, designing the exception and achieving the incredible – all in part time hours. Help us to celebrate trailblazers, by giving us your own nomination.

By proving that ‘it’s already being done’ we hope to unlock the door, to thousands of women and men with core skills, talent and experience, who simply cannot work, if they cannot work part time. What better reason is there to get involved, than that.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Women of Asian origin at the top of British business ...

There are now 9 women of Asian origin serving on the boards of FTSE 350 companies with one of these Ruby McGregor-Smith the CEO of MITIE holding an executive position.  Four of the group - Shriti VaderaRuby McGregor-SmithIndira Thambiah and Manjit Woolstenholme - were educated in Britain, with the other 5 coming from the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Interestingly, all but two of the women - Ying Yeh and Sahar Elhabashi - either qualified as accountants or have built their careers within financial markets.  Several of them have subsequently moved away from financial roles -  Shriti Vadera a former investment banker became an adviser at the Treasury and then a government minister and Indira Thambiah has moved into general retail and e-commerce management - but financial qualifications have proved valuable skills in overcoming barriers of both gender and ethnicity to reach the top of British business.

Shriti Vadera
Shriti Vadera
BHP Bilton & Astra Zeneca
Born: 1962 Uganda
Education: Northwood College, PPE Somerville College, Oxford
Career: Investment Banker at UBS Warburg, Government Minister
Oxfam Trustee

Ruby McGregor-Smith
Ruby McGregor-SmithCEO MITIE
Born:1963 Lucknow India
Education: Kingston University
Career: Qualified as accountant BDO Stoy Heyward SERCO Group. SGI Babcock.  Joined MITIE 2002 as group CFO.  Appointed COO 2005.  Appointed CEO 2007.

Sahar Elhabashi
Sahar Elhabashi, Telecity
Born: Alexandria, Egypt
Education: BS Economics MIT, MBA Columbia Business School
Career: COO of Conde Nast's entertainment division, previously COO of Discovery Networks International, Executive Vice President MTV, Consultant at Boston Consulting Group

Euleen Goh, Aviva
Born: 1955 Singapore
Career:  Accountant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.  CEO Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.  Also non-exec at Singapore Airlines, DBS Bank, Singapore Exchange, CapitaLand Limited

Indira Thambiah
Indira Thambiah, SuperGroup
Education: London Business School, MBA
Career: Qualified as Chartered Accountant, Consultant at Accenture, ASDA, Home Retail Group, Group e-Commerce Director at Dixons, CEO Multi-York Furniture.  Previously non-Exec at Yorkshire Building Society

Manjit Woolstenholme
Manjit Woolstenholme
Provident Financial Group
Born: 1966 
Career: Qualified as chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, co-head of investment banking Dresdner Kleinwort. Partner at Gleacher Shacklock investment bank.  Non-executive Director of Capital and Regional plc. Non-exec governor of the Manchester Academic Health and Science Centre. 

Ying Yeh
Ying Yeh, International Hotel Group
Career: From 1982 to 1997 US diplomat including Minister Counsellor, Commercial, US Embassy in Beijing.  Chair and President of Eastman Kodak North Asia. Chair and Vice-President NALCO in Greater China 2009-2011.  Non-exec director Volvo.  Appointed to IHG board 2007.

Laura Cha
Laura Cha, Deputy Chair HSBC
Born: 1949
Education: BA University of Wisconsin, Law doctorate Santa Clara
Career:  Deputy Chair of Hong Kong's Securities & Futures Commission, Vice Chair of China Securities Regulatory Commission, Deputy Chair HSBC,
Member of Executive Council of Hong Kong

Winnie Kin Wah Fok
Winnie Kin Wah Fok, 4GS
Born: 1956
Education: University of New South Wales
Career: Trained as an auditor.Wide range of roles in asset management. Senior partner of EQT and CEO of EQT Partners Asia Limited; managing director of CEF New Asia Partners Limited.

Where are the women executive directors?

Rona Fairhead
In the ongoing debate about quotas for women on boards there has been increasing concern about the low numbers of women serving as executive directors on boards and the slow down this year in the rate at which women are being appointed to executive posts.  The concern is understandable.  Only 42 of the just over 300 women directors on FTSE 350 boards hold executive positions - 13 CEOs, 13 CFOs and 16 other executive directors.

However, there is a danger that in our concern with the numbers and a lack of recent executive appointments going to women, that we fail to celebrate those women who are already succeeding.  Many if not most readers will have heard of Anne Richards at Aberdeen Investment Management but how many have heard of for example,  Rona FairheadLaura Wade Gery,  Katie Bickerstaffe,  Susanne GivenTrish Corzine or Amanda Mesler?  I confess I generally hadn't or if I had, I knew little about them, and yet these are all executive directors currently running a major division of their FTSE 350 company or serving as COOs.

The women currently serving as executive directors are the critical role models for the next tranche of executive directors but they are largely invisible in the mainstream press, women's magazines, on TV and radio or even just on video.  We need to see these women in the media and to hear about their triumphs and their challenges and how they "did it".

Rona Fairhead, CEO Financial Times
Born: 1961
Education: Cambridge University, Harvard Business School
Career:  Consultant at Bain Consulting, Analyst at Morgan Stanley, consultant to Bombardier, Shorts, British Aerospace, ICI.  Finance Director Pearson Group. Non-exec Cabinet Office, HSBC Holdings.
Personal: Married with children

Laura Wade-GeryLaura Wade Gery  
E-commerce Director Marks and Spencer
Born: 1962
Education: Oxford University
Career: Investment banker at Kleinwort Benson, consultant at Gemini Consulting, CEO and Tesco Direct. Director at Royal Opera House.  Previously non-exec at Trinity Mirror.  Reportedly insisted on a board position at Marks & Spencer when poached from Tesco.
Personal: As a student travelled from Palestine to China in a journey written up by her companion William Darymple in "Xanadu"

Susanne Given
Susanne Given, COO SuperGroup
Born:  Denmark
Career: Worked as assistant to former German Chancellor Helmut Khol
Buying Director for Fashion John Lewis, Managing Director TK Maxx, General Merchandise Director at Harrods 
Personal: Came to UK as student and stayed 

Katie Bickerstaffe
Katie Bickerstaffe, CEO Dixon Retail
Born: 1968
Education: Nottingham University
Career: Unilever Management Training Scheme, PepsiCo, HR Director, Dysons, HR Director Somerfield, Head of Retail Operations Somerfield, Managing Director Kwiksave, non-exec Scottish & Southern Energy
Personal: Marathon runner

Trish CorzineTrish Corzine
Managing Director The Restaurant Group
Career: Haagen-Dazs, Atacama Restaurant Group, Brand Director Garfunkel's, Operations Director The Restaurant Group, Managing Director - Concessions The Restaurant Group

Amanda MeslerAmanda Mesler
CEO Logica Business Consulting
Born: USA
Career: General Electric, Managing Director Bearing Point, President EDS, Vice President SYSCO, CEO Logical USA, Chief Client Officer Logica.  Non-exec Ensygnia
Personal: Married with 3 children, big fan of F1

Maggi BellMagi BellBusiness Development Director Capita
Born: 1955
Career: Operations Director Manpower Joined Capita in 1999 and ran Capita's recruitment business and led Business Services & Corporate Services divisions.  Since 2005 led Group Sales & Marketing.

Tracy RobbinsTracy Robbins
HR Director International Hotel Group
Born: 1964
Education: BA Leeds University, MSc Revans University
Career: HR Manager Tesco, HR & Quality Director Forte Hotels, HR Director Compass Group. Joined IHG 2005, appointed to board 2011

Vyvienne Wade
Vyvienne Wade  
CEO Jardine Lloyd Thompson Latin America
Career: Barrister, Group Legal Director JLT, joined JLT board 2002, CEO JLT Latin America.  Non-exec director Lloyd & Partners.
Personal: Married

Jill Shedden
Jill Shedden, HR Director Centrica
Born:  1967
Education: BSc Management Science, MSc Management Development, CIM Qualified
Career: British Gas graduate trainee programme, HR Director British Gas, HR Director Centrica Energy, appointed to board 2011
Personal: Married with 2 children

Anne Richards 
Chief Investment Officer Aberdeen Asset Management
Anne Richards

Education: University of Edinburgh - Electonics & Electrical Engineering, INSEAD MBA
Career: Research fellow at CERN.  Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director Edinburgh Fund Managers.  Chief Investment Officer Aberdeen Asset Management.  Non-exec director Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Ana Haurie
Ana Haurie
Group Managing Director Dexion Capital
Education: St Andrews University, Stanford University, Open University
Career: Cantor Fitzgerald, Sheppards Stockbrokers, management consultant on projects at Bank of England, CSFB, West LB and Barclays Capital. Joined Dexion Capital plc in September 2001 to head Dexion’s advisory business, focusing on research and analysis. Appointed Managing Director in 2006. 
Personal: Children

Carol Kilby
Carol Kilby Dexion Capital
Career: Joined Dexion Capital in 2007 responsible for the day-to-day running of the Guernsey operation and its business development. Carol has worked for 20 years in Guernsey’s finance industry including accounting, banking, risk & compliance and most recently, the corporate secretarial function. Carol is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants and has an IOD Diploma in Company Direction.

Lucy Neville RolfeLucy Neville Rolfe
Corporate Affairs Director Tesco
Born: 1953
Career: Civil Servant 1973 to 1997 at DEFRA, Cabinet Office and PM's Policy Unit.  Joined Tesco 1997.  Appointed to Tesco board 2006.  Non-exec Director ITV and the Carbon Trust.  Deputy Chair of the British Retail Consortium.  Member of the London Business School’s Governing Body, the China Britain Business Council, the UK India Business Council and the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change.
Personal: Married with 4 sons

Diane Alfano Managing Director of Euromoney Institutional Investor’s Conference Division. 
Born: 1957
Education: BA Political Science & French Tufts University, La Sorbonne, Institut d’Etudes Politiques 
Career: Sales Executive Burroughs, joined Institutional Investor 1984.  Managing Director Membership and Sponsored Conference Business.
Personal: Enjoys sailing and ballet

Jane Wilkinson Euromoney CEO Euromoney Institutional Investor Publishing Division
Born:  1965
Education: Queen Mary College, University of London
Career: Marketing Director IPC.  Joined Institutional Investor in 2000 as Group Marketing Director.  Joined the board in 2007

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Women in the Chair ....

Helen Alexander UBM
Helen Alexander UBM
The four women in the chair of FTSE 350 boards are an impressively select group leading just 1.14% of companies in the 350 index.  Together they are leading the way in increasing the representation of women on British boards.

The group - Dame Helen Alexander UBM, Anita Frew Victrex, Colette Bowe Electra Private Equity and Alison Carnwarth Land Securities - have dizzying portfolios in which they combine not only multiple directorships but also a wide range of trusteeships on university, cultural and charity boards.  Anita Frew, for example, has been on the board of the Donmar and Gate Theatres and Helen Alexander is Chancellor of Southampton University and both combine all of this with being mothers.

Colette Bowe
Colette Bowe
The group's portfolios undoubtedly demonstrate phenomenal networking powers but these women also share real longevity of service and, for want of a better word, "stickability" in certain areas of their careers - they are not just "business butterflies" who have flitted from one non-exec role to another.  Helen Alexander joined the Economist Group in 1985 and was CEO of the group for 11 years until she became Vice President of the CBI.  Colette Bowe was a civil servant at the DTI for over 12 years.  Anita Frew has served on the Victrex board for over 10 years and Alison Carnwarth - who is the only woman Chair of a FTSE 100 company - on the Land Securities board for over 8 years.

Alison Carnwarth
Alison Carnwarth
Interestingly, the four have combined this "stickability" with the confidence to make some very big and critical career changes.  Colette Bowe's was perhaps the most dramatic, leaving the civil service after becoming caught up in the scandal of the Westland Affair to work in the city as first as a regulator as CEO of the Personal Investment Authority and then Executive Chair of Robert Fleming Asset Management. Anita Frew had risen to the top of the financial sector as Head of Investment at Scottish Provident before joining the marketing group WPP as Director of Corporate Development.  As Colette Bowe has made clear such shifts are by no means easy - in her case in the full glare of the media, anything but  "At the time it felt awful. Some things can be so awful they seem unreal." (Guardian 2011) - but senior achievement in very different sectors has added to their authority as Chairs.

Anita FrewSuch impressive role models in their own right, these women are now also leading the way in promoting women to boards with the four boards they chair having much better than average representation of women with three of the four over the 30% target set by campaigning groups and the fourth Land Securities only just shy of this target at 28.5%:

  • Electra                3 of 6 directors    50%
  • Victrex                2 of 5 directors    40%
  • UBM                   2 of 6 directors    33%
  • Land Securities    2 of 7 directors    28.5%

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

In their own words ... the women at the top of British business

I am fascinated by the backgrounds of women at the top of business and how they live their lives but also by how they present themselves.  What do they sound like? What are their mannerisms? How do they interact with different people? Do they have styles and mannerisms in common or as discussed in a previous blog is their individual authenticity key to their authority and charisma?

As part of this exploration I have been collecting video links of some of the women CEOs and Chairs of FTSE 350 businesses and have shared a selection below that I will continue to update ...

Laura Wade-Gery, 
E-commerce Director Marks and Spencer
Laura Wade Gery
Born: 1962
Education: Oxford University
Career: Investment banker at Kleinwort Benson, consultant at Gemini Consulting, CEO and Tesco Direct. Director at Royal Opera House.  Previously non-exec at Trinity Mirror.  Reportedly insisted on a board position at Marks & Spencer when poached from Tesco.
Personal: As a student travelled from Palestine to China in a journey written up by her companion William Darymple in "Xanadu"

Anne Richards, 
Chief Investment Officer, Aberdeen Asset Management
Education: University of Edinburgh - Electonics & Electrical Engineering, INSEAD MBA
Career: Research fellow at CERN.  Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director Edinburgh Fund Managers.  Chief Investment Officer Aberdeen Asset Management.  Non-exec director Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Alison Cooper, CEO Imperial Tobacco 
Alison Cooper Imperial Tobacco

Born:  1967
Educated:  Tiffin Girls School, Bristol University
Career: Qualified Accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers, Finance Director, COO and CEO Imperial Tobacco, Non-exec Inchcape 
Personal Life:  Married with 2 daughters

Dido Harding, CEO Talk Talk
Dido Harding
My Bottom Line, BBC Mar 2012

Born: 1964
Educated: BA PPE Oxford, MBA Harvard Business School
Career: McKinsey, Marketing Director Thomas Cook, Commercial Director Woolworths, Commercial Director Tesco, Convenience Director Sainsbury
Personal Life: Married to John Penrose MP, 2 children
Other: Horse lover and former jockey, grand daughter of Field Marshall John Harding

Harriet Green, CEO Thomas Cook
Harriet Green
My Bottom Line, BBC Jun 2012

Born: 1962
Educated: BA Medieval History King's College London, MSc Business Psychology London School of Economics
Career: Arrow Electronics, CEO Premier Farnell, Group CEO Thomas Cook, Non-executive Director Emerson & BAE Systems
Personal life: Married, children
Other: Yoga devotee

Alison Carnwarth, Chair Land Securities
My Bottom Line, BBC Nov 2011

Alison Carnwarth
Born: 1953
Educated: BA German & Economics, Reading
Career: Qualified accountant, investment banker at Henry Schroder Wagg and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette.  Portfolio non-exec director who has served on over 15 boards and is currently on boards of MAN, Zurich Insurance, PACCAR and ISIS Equity Partners.  Resigned from Barclays in 2012

Angela Ahrendts, CEO Burberry
Angela Ahrendts
Financial Times, Oct 2010

Born: 1960
Education: Merchandise & Marketing, Ball State University
Career: Donna Karan, Executive Vice President Liz Clairborne
Personal Life: Married with 3 children.
Other: Devout Methodist.  Husband works from home

Ruby McGregor-Smith, CEO MITIE
My Bottom Line
Orange National Business Awards
Ruby McGregor-Smith
Education: BSc Economics Kingston
Career: Qualified accountant, BDO Stoy Hayward, SERCO, Group Finance Director MITIE, Group Chief Operating Officer MITIE, Group CEO MITIE, Non-exec Director Michael Page International
Personal Life: Married with 2 children
Other: Took a career break to care for her youngest child

Carolyn McCall, CEO EasyJet
Carolyn McCall
Keynote Investor Relations Society 2011
Born: 1961 Bangalore, India
Education: BA History & Politics Kent, MA Politics, London
Career: CEO Guardian Newspapers, CEO Guardian Media Group. Previously non-exec Lloyds TSB, New Look, Tesco
Personal Life: Married 3 children
Other: Trained as a teacher

Dame Marjorie Scardino, CEO Pearson
Leader Power Tools 2010

Marjorie Scardino
Born: 1947 USA
Education: Baylor University, University of San Fransisco School of Law
Career: Lawyer, journalist, CEO Economist Group, Non-exec Nokia and on boards of Oxfam and MacArthur Foundation
Personal Life: Married with 3 children
Other: Founded the Pulitzer prize winning Georgia Gazette

Cynthia Carroll, CEO Anglo-American
ABNDigital 2011
Cynthia Carroll

Born: 1956, USA
Education: BSc Geology Skidmore, MSc Geology Kansas, MBA Harvard Business School
Career: Geologist Amoco, Alcan, Managing Director Aughisih Aluminia, President Alacan Bauxite, CEO Alcan's Primary Metals Group. Previously non-exec at Sara Lee and AngloGoldAshanti
Personal Life: Married with 4 children - husband works from home

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The women holding the purse strings ...

Diedre Mahon Diageo
Diedre Mahon, Diageo
Only 13 of the Finance Directors of companies in the FTSE 350 index are women, that's just 3.7% of the total.  The number of women holding the purse strings in our largest public companies is without doubt low,  but there has been growth and in the FTSE 100 the proportion has now reached 8% and amongst companies in the 350 index led by a woman CEO this rises to 23%.

Liz Doherty Reckitt Benckiser
Liz Doherty, Reckitt Benckiser

The number of women Finance Directors is obviously significant with the FD second only to the CEO in executive authority but is also important because a large number of CEOs have previously been Finance Directors.  As discussed in a previous blog post almost 40% of the women CEOs of FTSE 350 companies had previously held financial roles.  It could be expected therefore that the next wave of women CEOs would come from those currently serving as FDs and that the women currently serving as FDs on FTSE 100 boards - Lucinda Bell, Liz Doherty, Stacey Cartwright, Jackie Hunt, Tracey Taylor, Diedre Mahon, Zaure Zaurebekova, Maeve Carton - would be particularly well placed to step in the future into CEO roles.

Stacey Cartwright Burberry
Stacey Cartwright, Burberry
The number of companies where women hold both the two leading executive roles are still incredibly small, just 3 of 350.  However, as typically the only executives on the board are the CEO and the FD the very existence of these women only board executive teams is a big breakthrough that deserves celebration.  It would be great to see more images of these teams - Angela Ahrendts and Stacey Cartwright at Burberry, Dido Harding and Amy Stirling at Talk, Talk and Ruby McGregor-Smith and Suzanne Baxter at MITIE - within the general press and women's media.  The impact of an image of one woman "in a man's world" is very different from that of a team of women leading one of our largest listed companies.

Lucinda Bell British Land
Lucinda Bell, British Land
The overall level of women FDs within the FTSE 350 may seem disheartening but the role of FD arguably provides one of the best opportunities for women to take on executive board roles and to step up into CEO roles.  One of the barriers to women taking on executive roles is our concentration in the "soft" sectors of HR and marketing and lack of experience therefore of major P&L responsibility.  However, women now represent over 50% of entrants into accountancy and it is arguably a profession which offers working mothers more flexibility at  than other operational roles at key times in their careers.

Jackie Hunt Standard Life
Jackie Hunt,
Standard Life
We should expect to see more and more women becoming FDs in our largest companies and I would go further and argue that is worth focusing efforts to increase women's representation on boards on this role through improved mentoring and much greater celebration of those women who are already "counting the beans" at our top board tables as the role of Financial Director provides perhaps the best opportunity to the largest number of women to take on executive authority on British boards.

Amy Stirling Talk Talk
Amy Stirling,

Maeve Carton
Maeve Carton, CR
Julia Wilson 3i
Julia Wilson, 3i

Barbara Richmond Redrow
Barbara Richmond,

Suzanne Baxter, MITIE

Janne Brown Cairn Energy
Janne Brown, Cairn Energy