Thursday 7 July 2016 8:22 am

The government is today unveiling a review on women in senior leadership as new leader of the Women’s Business Council is revealed

A new, government-backed review of women in business has been announced today, as the 2016 Female FTSE Board Report reveals that the overall percentage of women on FTSE boards has increased since March 2015.

Sir Philip Hampton, chair of GlaxoSmithKline, and Dame Helen Alexander, chair of UBM, will head up a team of industry chiefs to undertake a review of how female representation in leadership positions at British businesses can be improved.

The review follows Lord Mervyn Davies' Women on Boards report, released last October, which stated that 33 per cent of all board seats at FTSE 350 companies should be held by women by the end of the decade.

The government said today that Davies' work had pushed female representation on FTSE 100 boards up from 12.5 per cent to 26 per cent. And the new 2016 Female FTSE Board Report by Cranfield University, City University London and Queen Mary University London, shows that the overall percentage of women on FTSE boards has increased compared to March 2015.

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"It is clear that gender balance on FTSE boards has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years and this progress continues," Hampton said.

"However, we must significantly increase the number of women in senior leadership roles if we are to harness the skills of women for the benefit of business and the UK economy."

Minister for women and equalities Nicky Morgan said: "This government has prioritised equality for women, pushing for greater representation in business and providing young women with the role models that inspire them and their career choices. We have already made huge progress.

"But now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back and say ‘job well done’ – we must be even more ambitious."

Meanwhile, Cilla Snowball CBE, group chairman and chief executive of AMV BBDO, is replacing Baroness McGregor-Smith as chair of the Women's Business Council (WBC).

The new review and the changes to the WBC were announced this morning at an event hosted by KPMG.