Bank of England Governor encourages shift in business culture October 10th, 2014 – The 30% Club today held an event in Washington DC with a focus on accelerating progress towards global gender diversity at all organisational levels. The event, hosted by KPMG and held alongside the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund, welcomed Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England as guest speaker and attendees drawn mainly from major global financial institutions, business leaders and public policy makers. Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said: “At the Bank of England, we have set clear targets and made good progress in promoting gender diversity. But success in this endeavour is about more than just targets. It is about recruiting, developing, promoting and retaining talent in a way that encourages and supports open debate, creative challenge, and continuous improvement. This makes organisations more effective.”
The under-representation of women at senior levels is very much a global phenomenon and the 30% Club’s approach is becoming adopted internationally. The US 30% Club launched in April 2014 with 27 founding supporters including Warren Buffett, Larry Fink, John Veihmeyer and the founding Chair, Peter Grauer. Four new supporters were announced today: Mike Corbat (Citigroup), Nancy Karch (Kate Spade), Scott Powers (SSgA) and Muhtar Kent (Coca Cola). Gender imbalance is a significant problem in many US organisations, with clear statistics underlining where change needs to be made. 60% of the largest 100 publicly-listed US companies have at least two women on their Executive Committees, but of these top 100 companies, only eight of them, including IBM, Pepsico, Lockheed Martin and General Motors, have a women CEO. Moreover, there has been no significant change in these percentages over the last three years. The 30% Club launched in 2010 with a goal of 30% women on UK FTSE-100 boards by 2015, compared with 12.5% at the time. Today the 30% Club welcomed the latest progress to 22.8%, based on data provided by Boardex, whose chairman Dick MacWilliams was present at today’s event. With no all-male FTSE-100 boards remaining, there has also been a sharp drop in the number of all-male FTST-250 boards, now 11.6% of the total, down from 52.4% when the 30% Club launched.
Accelerated progress in the UK has been achieved through concerted, voluntary effort, without resorting to quotas. The 30% Club works collaboratively with other organisations, including the Davies Committee, helping provide cohesion and business leadership through the support of its 108 Chair members. 96 of these 108 supporters are men, highlighting how this issue is now perceived as important to business, rather than just a ‘women’s issue’. The 30% Club is aiming for sustainable, meaningful change in workplace culture, with programmes from schoolroom to boardroom.
Helena Morrissey CBE, Founder of the 30% Club and CEO of Newton Investment Management, part of BNY Mellon, said: “Companies now realise that managing all their talent is vital to future success. The UK experience over the past four years has been that real and rapid progress is possible, if men and women work together towards measurable goals and with a sense of urgency. There are many excellent but fragmented efforts already underway in the US and I hope the 30% Club’s approach can help create cohesion and deliver real progress. Our approach is not to ‘fix the women’ or ‘beat up the men’ but instead to work together to modernise working practices and improve business culture, ultimately benefitting everyone.”
John Veihmeyer, Global Chair of KPMG and one of the founding US members of the 30% Club, added: “Greater diversity at all levels within an organization is not only achievable, it’s essential to the sustainability of business success.As leaders we must remain committed to driving this change throughout our own organizations. Everyone agrees that this is the right thing to do, we now need to focus on continuing to deliver a more inclusive culture.”
There are 30% Clubs in Hong Kong (launched March 2013), Ireland (May 2014) and Southern Africa (September 2014). Canada will launch a Club next month and there is interest from Australia, Continental European and Scandinavian countries, the Middle East and Asia.
In conclusion, Helena Morrissey said: “Research indicates that having 30% senior female representatives within an organisation significantly influences both a company’s culture and decision making, creating a positive impact on businesses corporate results. Finding a solution level by level and step by step is harder and requires patience, but it is real, and will deliver lasting change.”
For further information, please contact:
Gay Collins, MHP Communications +44 20 3128 8582/07798626282
Toto Reissland-Burghart, MHP Communications + 44 203 128 8100
Jamie Brookes, BNY Mellon +44 20 7163 2146/07769900417