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Tiptoeing Forward With Intent

Posted on February 21, 2011 at 11:44 AM

It's heartening to read what Lord Davies said to The Observer. "Women outperform men academically; they're estimated to be responsible for 70% of household spending decisions. This is a hugely powerful economic force and yet we have a very low percentage at the boardroom table."

The Guardian also provides some welcome detail. Not only will plcs be asked to reveal which headhunters they use but also criteria used to fill roles, as well as the length and the gender make-up of the shortlist.

This would mean that headhunters would think twice before putting only a token woman on the longlist and have to present Chairmen with some clear choices. They- and the nomination committees - would, it is hoped, think even harder before they move on to the shortlisted candidates.

Institutional shareholders are also going to be urged to apply far more pressure to companies to attract more women. So they had better sort themselves out at the ABI quickly.

Lord Davies also intends to review the situation every six months - much needed scrutiny if the rumblings in our boardrooms are going to give way to change. Can it be that the Davies Review will have succeeded in tiptoeing through this minefield with intent ? We'll know more on Thursday - if not before.

Meanwhile, Investec plc has been innovative in its thinking. It announced that Sir David Prosser, the group's senior independent non-executive director, and Fani Titi, chairman of Investec Bank ltd, will become joint chairmen when Hugh Herman retires, after chairing the group for 17 years.

The company said the joint chairmen would best serve the interest of all the group's stakeholders, given its dual-listed companies structure, the changed regulatory and financing landscape, and growth in its South African and UK operations.

Investec also has two female NEDs on its board - Cheryl Carolus and Haruko Fukuda. Rah.

Categories: Women, Scrutiny, Headhunters