One in three blue-chip board jobs went to women last year

Marion Dakers
BRITISH firms are picking an increasing number of women for board-level jobs, but progress has slowed in recent months, according to figures out yesterday.

Women now hold 17.3 per cent of board seats in the FTSE 100, of which 5.8 per cent are executive directors, the Professional Boards Forum (PBF) said.

Thirty-four per cent of blue-chip board appointments in the last year have been women.

Overall representation is up from 12.5 per cent in 2010, before the government made boardroom balance a priority, but women hires hit a plateau in the first quarter of the year, the PBF said.

The FTSE 100 has also lost several high-profile bosses including Anglo American chief Cynthia Carroll and Pearson’s Marjorie Scardino. EasyJet’s expected promotion to the FTSE 100 today will make Carolyn McCall one of three female blue-chip leaders.

To hit the target of 25 per cent women set by Lord Davies two years ago, FTSE 100 firms need to appoint an additional 86 female board members by 2015.

The FTSE 250 has more catching up to do: mid-cap firms have filled 13.2 per cent of their board roles with women, and need to hire 237 more to reach Davies’ goal.

“This is crunch-time and we need to see solid and sustained progress,” said PBF chair Elin Hurvenes yesterday.