30% Club Welcomes Davies Report Findings

Sees continued focus on balance for appointments; accelerated progress through ‘schoolroom to boardroom’ approach; 30% next milestone by end 2015

London, 25th March 2015 – Today sees the latest annual report from Lord Davies of Abersoch, The Davies Report on Women on Boards, with marked progress made since the report was first published in 2011. The report shows British businesses are making great voluntary strides towards a better gender balance in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies.

“2015 is a landmark year for those of us campaigning for a better balance of men and women on corporate boards, and we are pleased to see the significant progress announced today with almost double female representation at a senior level since 2011. There are now no all-male FTSE 100 boards, and the number of FTSE 250 companies with no female directors has fallen to just 23,” commented Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club.

The Davies Report, published each year alongside the Cranfield University of Management’s Female FTSE Board report, shows that four years on from the original report female representation has almost doubled to 23.5%. This progress, made under a voluntary, business led framework, has been made without Government or EU legislative intervention.

Institutional investors are increasingly considering overall board effectiveness including diversity as an important aspect of good governance. The 30% Club Investor Group, with 23 institutional members, represents approximately £6 trillion in investible assets.

Emma Howard-Boyd, a member of the 30% Club steering committee and 30% Club Investor Group lead added: “This progress is good news for everyone keen to see more effective boards. And there are opportunities to speed things up – recent data from BoardEx shows that out of 839 non-executive FTSE 100 directorships, 83 NEDs – 10% – have served on the board for more than nine years, the maximum recommended term under the UK Corporate Governance Code. Of these, 74 are men. Opening up some of these positions to well-qualified women, as suggested by the Cranfield 2015 Female FTSE Board Report, would accelerate what’s already been significant progress.”

The 30% Club is focusing less on the end of 2015 as a finishing line and more as a stepping stone: sustainable change has always been the objective. With a broadening focus on developing senior female talent at all levels there are now 19 intense 30% Club workstreams spanning ‘schoolroom to boardroom’. It is not just a single effort. It is a whole series of actions, taken by very many people, across many areas, with absolute determination.

Helena Morrissey concluded: ”The progress seen over the past four years – both in the numbers and the mindset around this issue – has been nothing short of amazing. No other country besides Sweden has achieved such results from voluntary, business-led change – the better, more sustainable and ‘real’ approach. Organisations now realise that having a better mix of men and women at all levels is key to developing a modern culture. That realisation is key.

“There’s obviously much more work to be done to develop the right ecosystem in companies and society to nurture more diverse talent – including but not limited to women – but with strong efforts now going right back to the schoolroom, I’m optimistic that what we’ve seen so far is just one of many leaps forward.”

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For more information, please contact:
Jamie Brookes, MHP Communications +44 20 3128 8529/07769 900 417
Georgina Whittle, MHP Communications +44 203 128 8528

Gay Collins, +447798 626 282

Francoise Higson, Newton Investment Management