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Blog : BOARD TALK

FTSE250 Begins To Find Antidote Spell To 'Invisibility Cloak' For Women

Posted on June 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Phew. There are signs of fresh thinking - and progress -in the FTSE250 when it comes to gender diversity in the boardroom. 


In March this year the 2014 Cranfield Female FTSE board report revealed good news on the FTSE100's ability to find appropriate women to sit at the table of its boardrooms. It also said: "The FTSE 250 now has 48 all male boards" - and - looking at the bright side, added "down by well over half on three years ago."


But talking to those in the know over the last few years in the UK has suggested that FTSE250 boards are a hard nut to crack when it comes to gender diversity - for a multiplicity of reasons. One very important one that is often overlooked though is that they are not in the spotlight in the same way as the FTSE100. 


Media coverage continues to make a difference. Also in March, there was this piece in Management Today: Named And Shamed: The 48 FTSE 250 Boards Without Women.


So here are a couple of signs of fresh thinking. In April, Kentz, the FTSE250 engineering and construction group, announced that Meg Lassarat would succeed Ed Power as CFO upon his retirement at the end of May, and would then be appointed to the board. It said: "Meg brings over 20 years of global financial experience and has been instrumental in driving growth, identifying strategic alternatives and delivering positive bottom-line results in her career to date." 


It does make you wonder why Meg Lassart has been hard to find until now...it's that invisibility cloak women especially import from JK Rowling's stories, clearly. But this, of course, is a CFO-to-board appointment, which is often easier, says business.


But another piece of even more recent news from a forward-thinking FTSE250 business, Kier Group, plc, the construction, services and property group (with an excellent, easy-to-navigate website by the way which is a rarity in itself and suggests a willingness to embrace technology, innovate and generally behave as if we are in 2014).


Not content with one woman on its board, Kier Group have just appointed Kirsty Bashforth as a non-executive director with effect from 1 September 2014. Now Ms Bashforth has "over 20 years' experience with BP and has worked in a variety of roles during this time in both the UK and overseas. An economist by background, she is a member of BP's senior management." So she definitely should not have been invisible. 



Ms Bashforth joins Amanda Mellor, appointed in 2011 to the board of Kier Group. 



So: it is possible FTSE250, and it isn't even that hard. There may well be other examples of female appointments since March in FTSE250 boardrooms that I have not noted. If you have, do send them in - contact details on home page on this site.


In my view, it remains important that the media does note them - and publicise whenever it happens. 





Categories: Women, Appointments, Scrutiny