Firms cheer delay to EU’s board quotas

Ben Southwood
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LAW FIRMS and industry bodies yesterday welcomed the decision to delay a vote on the EU’s plan to force firms to give 40 per cent of board seats to women.

Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for justice, citizenship and fundamental rights, was scheduled to officially launch the initiative today, but her peers on the Commission decided at the last minute to delay their vote until 14 November.

Liz Murrall, director at the Investment Management Association, said quotas undermined appointment by merit, speaking about the original proposal. “Board appointments should be on merit and not to fill quotas,” Murrall argued. “The lack of women on boards is a symptom of their underrepresentation at senior levels from where board members are recruited.

“Quotas would not address this and could also alienate established board members,” she claimed.

Sarah Ozanne at law firm CMS Cameron McKenna agreed: “Although an EU quota would provide a quick fix to the appointment of women to non-executive roles, it does not address the more fundamental problem of female career development.”