FTSE 350 hits 30% women on boards for the first time in 450 years

The FTSE 350 can now demonstrate a third of board positions filled by women for the first time since the London Stock Exchange was established in 1571.

The latest figure is from the 30% Club, the global campaign with presence in 14 countries that encourages greater representation of women on boards, and shows the number now stands at 30%, with 903 female directorships held by women out of 3008 positions in total (data source: BoardEx, 30 September 2019).

This is in stark contrast to female representation on boards when the 30% Club was founded, by Dame Helena Morrissey, in 2010. Then, only 12.5% of FTSE 100 boards and 9.5% of FTSE 350 boards were female.

For nine years, the 30% Club has implemented a collaborative, concerted business-led effort to help accelerate progress towards better gender balance at all levels of organisations.

In August 2016, the 30% Club wrote to FTSE 350 CEOs in a rallying cry to urge them to commit to setting an aspirational minimum target of 30% female representation on their senior leadership teams by 2020.

Brenda Trenowden CBE, Global Co-Chair of the 30% Club said:
“I am extremely proud that we can say 30% of FTSE 350 boards are now female. This is an incredible milestone on the journey towards greater diversity and gender parity on company boards. The fact that we’ve met our 2020 target ahead of time means the narrative is working.

“Through our engagement with our member Chairs and CEOs, we have seen senior leadership amongst the world’s largest companies evolve for the better, lifting gender representation from a mere 9.5% for the  FTSE350  in 2010, to a much healthier 30.01% in 2019. It’s taken almost ten years to get here and I’d like to congratulate each and every committed Chair and CEO for their ongoing hard work in addressing gender disparity at the very highest levels within their companies. Business leadership is key to our mission, taking the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and integrating it into enterprise-wide strategy development.”

“Research has shown that more diverse boards contribute to better all-round business performance. The 30% Club believes that gender balance on boards and in senior management not only encourages better leadership and governance, but ultimately increases corporate performance for both companies and their shareholders”.

Ann Cairns, Global Co-Chair of 30% Club, added:
“When the 30% Club was established in 2010, the goal was to reach 30% female representation as a very minimum. 30% is the number at which a minority group starts to become heard and considered – that target is our floor, not our ceiling.  With only 13 female CEO’s in the FTSE 350 it is clear there is much work to be done.

“Over the last decade there has been a widescale renaissance of our board structure, both in the UK and internationally, and we think this will snowball from here.  From here we will continue to champion those boards who display great diversity, and question those who remain stubbornly in the 20th Century with their all-male boards or their ‘one and done’ attitude to female representation. Business in this day and age has changed – power lies with stakeholders who now represent all genders, ethnicities, religions, abilities and inclinations – and any company who cannot recognise that will fail to compete in the long run. I look forward to spending the next ten years building upon our achievements so far.”

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Notes to Editors
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About the 30% Club
The 30% Club was founded in the UK in 2010 and is a global effort with chapters in 14 countries/ regions around the world. The 30% Club collaborates with businesses, governments and other campaigns to improve gender diversity and accelerate the pace of change throughout organisations. Campaign targets include a minimum 30% women at senior management level of FTSE-100 companies by 2020.

About Ann Cairns
In her role as Executive Vice Chairman Ann represents Mastercard around the world, focusing on inclusion, diversity and innovation.  She plays the important role of senior ambassador and executive leader and sits as part of the company’s global management committee. Prior to her current appointment, Ann was President of International Markets responsible for the management of all Mastercard customer-related activities in over 200 countries.

Ann brings more than 20 years’ experience working in senior management positions across Europe and the U.S.  Prior to joining Mastercard in 2011, Ann was head of the Financial Services Group with Alvarez & Marsal, CEO of Transaction Banking at ABN-AMRO and held senior positions at Citigroup.

Ann is chair of ICE Clear Europe, one of the world’s largest clearing houses, owned by the Fortune 500 Company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). She is also on the board of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and a member of the UK Government’s AI council. She has a Pure Mathematics degree and honorary doctorate from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics and honorary doctorate from Newcastle University.

About Brenda Trenowden CBE, CFA, CCMI
Brenda has more than 25 years of experience in capital markets, investment and relationship banking, with sector expertise in financial institutions. She is also a strong advocate for women’s economic empowerment and has been recognised with several awards for her global campaigning for greater gender balance across organisations as a voluntary, business-led imperative. In 2015 Brenda took over from Helena Morrissey as Global Chair of the 30% Club, where she works closely with leading Chairs and CEOs around the world to increase the representation of women in senior roles and throughout organisations.  She is also an advisor to the UK Government’s Hampton-Alexander Review for increasing the representation of women in the executive level of the FTSE 350.

Canadian by birth, Brenda has an honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University in Canada and has a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She has lived and worked in a number of different countries in Asia, Europe and North America for some of the world’s largest banks including Citi, BNP Paribas, Lloyds Banking Group, BNY Mellon and ANZ, where she led the Financial Institutions Group in Europe. In June 2019, Brenda was appointed as a Partner at PWC working within its People & Organisations division. Brenda is also a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. Brenda was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2018 for services to the financial sector and gender equality. She was also listed as the number one Champion of Women in Business 2018.