Clash over female targets

THE Institute of Directors (IoD) yesterday slammed the CBI’s “quick-fix” suggestions to introduce more women onto the boards of companies, believing that forcible diversification would constrain British industry.

The CBI is proposing that all listed companies should be required to report on boardroom diversity. While stopping short of requiring firms to have a quota of women on boards, it means companies would have to set internal female quotas and would be forced to explain if they fall short of this figure.

The CBI is calling for its proposal to be added to the UK Corporate Governance Code.

But the IoD’s director general Miles Templeman said that the CBI’s proposal would risk the UK corporate governance code becoming “politicised and removed from commercial realities”. He warned that a reliance on forced gender diversity would impact on other dimensions of diversity that are necessary in the boardroom, including experience, personal background and actual ability.