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Anna Mann enlists top businesswomen to help crack boardroom glass ceiling

ANNA Mann, one of the City&rsquo;s most respected head-hunters, will today launch a new initiative called Women on Board, aimed at tackling the problem of gender imbalance on the boards of Britain&rsquo;s biggest companies.<br /><br />Mann, co-founder of Whitehead Mann and senior partner at MWM Consulting, argues that women bring &ldquo;valuable diversity of thinking and a fresh perspective&rdquo; to the boardroom.<br /><br />She has garnered the support of high-profile businesswomen to head up the new project. Former newsreader and J Sainsbury board director Anna Ford and BP human resources director Sally Bott have been drafted in to help lead the initiative, along with Victoire de Margerie, a visiting professor at the Cranfield School of Management. Helen Alexander, the newly-appointed president of the CBI, has also agreed to mentor potential boardroom candidates.<br /><br />According to data compiled by MWM, only 15 per cent of non-executive directors at FTSE 100 firms are female. The proportion of women at board level drops further among FTSE 250 companies, to just 9 per cent.