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Blog : BOARD TALK

Hear Hear For Radio 4

Posted on February 21, 2011 at 11:30 PM


Three w00ts for BBC Radio Four. (Instant Wikipedia explanation for those struggling -The term w00t is a slang interjection used to express happiness or excitement, usually over the Internet) .I was on the move early on Sunday, and owe the following piece of information to an independent headhunter - and do keep them coming, please.


On the Today programme we had Virginia Bottomley of search firm Odgers and Sheelagh Whittaker, a successful and feisty Canadian lady and NED at Standard Life. It was all about the glass ceiling. They were meant to be on opposing sides but actually, I think they both made sense. Click on the link and judge for yourself.


Sheelagh Whittaker wondered that, if we wait three to four years for things to change regarding women on board, will they, in effect, be lost years - when we could have just used quotas and saved some time.


Virginia Bottomley, on the other hand, is steeped in the culture of 'comply or explain' - which has, in fact, served the UK better than some of its international counterparts in the great 'corporate governance balancing act.' So she also made a valid point, and one that reflects the reality of our plc boardrooms.


The dilemma, she suggested, is that Chairmen have stereotypes in their mind when they are looking for NEDs - and the challenge is to reform the way that Chairmen look for women NEDs.


But she was also brave enough to say - let's not forget it 's about diversity, and not just about gender - and our plc boardrooms need to have ethnic minorities, and international people. Chairmen, she said, need to look through the window, and not in the mirror. In the jargon that originated in our parliament in the 18thc and is sometimes sadly still understood more clearly than 2011-speak: Hear Hear'.






Categories: Women, Behaviour, Chairmen