Blog : BOARD TALK
|Posted on December 7, 2015 at 6:55 PM|
There has been a shift in the direction of support for unconditional membership of the EU among chairmen of FTSE 100 companies.
Four in ten (39%) of chairmen responding to a regular survey on topical and governance issues just conducted by Korn Ferry, the global leadership consultancy said they want Britain to remain part of the EU unconditionally, while over half (52%) want it to do so only if certain aspects of the relationship are renegotiated. Only 9% said they wanted Britain to leave the EU.
In July 2014, 81% of chairmen responding to Korn Ferry's Boardroom Pulse believed that Britain should renegotiate its relationship with Brussels and just 15% backed staying unconditionally.
The findings also paint "a dismal picture of the Shadow Cabinet’s traction with British business" says Korn Ferry. Some 30% of respondents believe that the composition of the Shadow Cabinet – and in particular the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer – is “very damaging” for business, and a further 55 % believe it is “worrying”, it says.
However, 9% of FTSE chairmen who responded were neutral on the issue and 6% said they believed the Shadow Cabinet’s composition was positive for business - which could be seen as a surprisingly high number of those who are undecided, or positive about the Shadow Cabinet -15%. Of course, it also depends exactly how they were asked the question.
Apparently regulation is the issue affecting UK PLC that business leaders would most like the Government to address, cited as such by 36% of respondents. I am unclear as to what "address' means, but I presume it means they would like less of it.
And the other interesting findings - which did leave me feeling slightly bemused, were on gender diversity on UK boards.
I think we all know the UK Government is very pleased to have avoided potential EU regulation and quotas and used the voluntary approach to meet self-set targets for women in non-executive positions in the boardrooms of FTSE 100 companies.
Chairmen were "extremely positive about the impact that greater gender diversity has had on the functioning of their boards" says Korn Ferry.
Here are some of its expanded thoughts on that subject:
"One chairman noted that 'boardrooms are more balanced and thoughtful with healthy female representation, but the difficult questions still get asked, possibly with a more diplomatic approach.'
Another said 'the macho culture…is dampened down by women in the boardroom' and that 'women approach problem solving from different angles to most men.'
A third suggested that greater female representation has brought 'a more diverse set of views on key issues and improved boardroom dynamics resulting in improved outcomes' and another claimed that it had resulted in 'better board behaviour and a more mature rounded response to issues.'
I don't know about you - but those responses speak volumes to me.
In 2015 one would hope we would be looking well beyond generalised gender differences for business success. I also assume that Boardroom Pulse is inevitably a 99.9% reflection of the views of men.