Tuesday 20 May 2014 5:32 am

FTSE 100 to be free of all-male boards by the end of 2014

Responding to shareholder pressure at its annual general meeting today, Glencore Xstrata chairman Tony Hayward has pledged to appoint a female director to its board by the end of the year.

In March this year, the 2014 Cranfield Female FTSE board report found that two FTSE 100 companies still had all-male boards: miners Antofagasta and Glencore.

The appointment of Vivianne Blanlot by Antofagasta leaves just Glencore with no women on its board of directors. If Glencore can keep its promises, and barring any shake-ups to the FTSE 100's constituents or departures from boards, then the FTSE 100 will be all-male board free by 2015.

Glencore has come under criticism from a number major investors, including the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, which advised its members to vote against the election of Tony Hayward as permanent critiscism, in protest at the lack of any female representation on the company's board.

The Cranfield report found that 50 companies in the FTSE 100 and 250 still had all-male boards in March. At that time, Capita and Diageo both had the highest female representation on their boards, with 44.4 per cent women directors. Then new FTSE 100 constituent Royal Mail had women filling 36.4 per cent of board roles.

Professor Susan Vinnicombe, director of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders, said of the findings that "whilst it is extremely encouraging to see the overall figures moving in the right direction, the issue still remains that women are not being appointed to executive positions".