Cable warns businesses: Board quotas are still a nuclear option

Charlotte Henry
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Vince Cable warned of a “nuclear option” of gender quotas if progress on diversity stalled
BUSINESS secretary Vince Cable yesterday warned Britain’s leading businesses that gender quotas remained “a nuclear option” if progress on female board appointments did not continue.

Speaking at the launch of Lord Davies’ latest report, in which the former banker monitors female appointments to FTSE 100 boards, Cable said: “I’ve always argued that as a nuclear option we shouldn’t rule [gender quotas] out, but it clearly isn’t necessary. I think for a lot of women it would devalue their own achievements.”

Denise Wilson, the chief executive officer of the Lord Davies steering committee, told City A.M.: “Leaders in British businesses, who were actually really key to fixing this, were very clear that they wanted to fix this on their own, and that they could fix this on their own.”

The latest report shows that there are no blue chip companies with an all male board. Only a handful of appointments are needed to reach the target of 25 per cent female representation on all FTSE 100 boards by 2015.

However, while more women are being appointed to non-executive positions, there are concerns that not enough is being done to move them through the corporate pipeline into executive roles.