A list is now available of more than 8,000 names of women ready, able and qualified to take seats on boards around the world
It is almost a decade since the late Sir Derek Higgs provided a list of solutions to counter the “pale male” dominance of the boardrooms of the UK’s biggest companies. One of them involved commissioning Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a former advisor to Bill Clinton and one time dean of the London Business School, to draw up a list of 100 people from outside the corporate sector who might make suitable candidates for non-executive roles at big companies.
Higgs wanted Tyson to produce a list “that will be long enough to stop [the media] poking all over the names but short enough not be a telephone directory”.
After toiling for several months Tyson decided that she preferred not to name any names at all. Instead she opined that there were plenty of good, diverse candidates available if only companies took the trouble to look – and the project fell by the wayside.
Almost 10 years later and a list is now available, not just of 100 names but of more than 8,000 women ready, able and qualified to take seats on boards around the world.
Known as the “global board-ready women” database, it has been created by the European Business Schools/Women on Boards Taskforce, aided by LinkedIn and the Financial Times non-executive directors club. It is designed as a destination for headhunters – who are often seen as lazy and uninspired in their choice of boardroom candidates – to seek out candidates.
However, it also needs women to apply. Among the qualifications required of the women eligible to join the database include five years experience as a chairman of non-executive of a listed or private company or one of the so-called “C-suite roles” – chief executive, chief financial officer and the like – or a role on a government agency.
The first companies to run through the list should be the eight in the FTSE 100 which still have no female directors and the 59 in the next rank down – the FTSE 250 – which also have yet to appoint any women to their boardrooms.