GlaxoSmithKline’s chairman Sir Philip Hampton has been picked as the government’s new business equality tsar, appointed to run the campaign for firms to put more women in senior positions.
The campaign was launched in 2011 under the name Women on Boards, and aimed to double female representation on FTSE 100 boards to 25pc.
It reached that target, and the campaign will now focus on promoting women to senior executive roles across the FTSE 350, and preparing more female bosses for non-executive roles on boards.
However, Sir Philip’s own firm has few female leaders – just two of Glaxo’s 12 senior executives are female. Four of the 15 board directors are female, coming in above the 25pc target.
He is also a senior non-executive director at miner Anglo-American which has only one senior female executive, on a committee of 12 bosses. Three of its 12 board directors are female, in line with the 25pc goal.
GSK declined to comment directly on Sir Philip’s latest appointment or on any immediate plans to hire more women to its top committee.
It does publish figures on female representation at other levels of the business. Those numbers show that 45pc of managers are female, while women account for 40pc of directors and 29pc of vice-presidents.
Anglo-American said: “Our focus is to ensure that the women in senior roles across the company have every opportunity to progress their careers towards the most senior level and that we also work to attract appropriate candidates into the company at those senior most levels.”
Sir Philip said he wants to make sure there is a long-term improvement in the number of women rising through the ranks in businesses.
“I am delighted to take on Lord Davies’s great work around Women on Boards and I want to now turn my attention to the FTSE 350. I will focus on improving representation in the executive layer of companies, as well as maintaining the momentum on boards,” said Sir Philip.
“This means looking at the talent pipeline for female executives and emerging non-executive directors to ensure we create opportunities and the right conditions for women to succeed.”
In response to questions over Glaxo’s own efforts, he said: “GSK does well in senior management – around 42pc [are female]. But there aren’t enough top women in mose businesses.”
He has appointed Dame Helen Alexander, chairman of the board of marketing and communications firm UBM, as his deputy on the campaign.
Sir Philip’s appointment was announced by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
“The employment rate for women has never been higher and there are now more women on FTSE boards than ever before. But we need to go further, particularly when it comes to paving the way to the executive level,” said Business Secretary Sajid Javid.
“Companies cannot afford to miss out on the skills and talent of the whole population if the UK is going to compete in a fast-moving global economy. This is not just about diversity for diversity’s sake, but about improving performance and productivity.”
By Tim Wallace
Source: The Telegraph
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