Women on Board

Baroness Virginia Bottomley, the former Conservative MP, and now chair of the executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, this week launched their diversified study of 100 senior women in financial services. She said:

“Women will control 60 per cent of the UK’s private wealth by 2025. Organisations will suffer unless they fully exploit the female talent in their midst.”


This follows on Lord Davies of Abersoch’s ‘Independent Review into Women on Boards’ in which he recommends that UK listed companies in the FTSE 100 should be aiming for a minimum of 25% female board member representation by 2015. His report contained the following recommendation:


‘Headhunting firms should draw up a voluntary code of practice addressing gender diversity in relation to board level appointments to FTSE 350 companies.’ This may explain Baroness Bottomley’s enthusiasm for women board members.


I have never bought into this forced gender issue.


Tony Blair managed 101 woman Labour MPs in his 1997 Government most of whom have now gone.


Some years ago the General Medical Council was persuaded that it was not training enough female doctors. It altered its focus with disastrous results. As a consequence there was a shortage of doctors until the system caught up (how many female GPs in your surgery?).


There is, however, a greater danger ahead in when ‘promotion’ is forced. Being a non-executive director in this modern, judgemental and accountable environment, is a serious matter. There is the danger that people will be appointed as directors without understanding the real responsibilities (and personal liabilities) they may face.


The Government’s Insolvency Service has begun legal proceedings to disqualify all the directors of the failed Christmas hamper business Farepak and correctly so, but it shows the risks directors are exposed to.


There is no doubt that aging (and not so ageing) male chauvinists have been slow to embrace the growing emancipation of women in business, have been unwilling to start a proper process to achieve more emancipation and in many cases have frustrated the process.


However, prescribing protocols for women on company boards, is fraught with danger and may well expose people to risks, which could then backfire like Tony’s MPs and the BMA diversity program. This would set us back even further.


Lord Davies’s proposals have the backing of Vince Cable which is worrying.

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“Mr. Angry is promoted”



The following correspondence took place in this last week.


“From the desk of Enterprise Britain’s Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Dirk Van Dijl.


Dear Angry.


I am noting, with glowing pride, that your weekly column, highlighting the absurdities in today’s political society, is growing in its impact. Your success in exposing Britain’s potholes epidemic, which resulted in George throwing in another £100m in to their repairs, is dazzling.


Thus, from next week, you are being promoted and will have YOUR OWN COLUMN.


You can therefore break away from that self-important, flatulent know-all, Tony Drury, and be your own man.


Congratulations from all of us at Enterprise Britain.


Sincerely


Dirk.”


“Dear Mr. Van Dijl.


Thank you, thank you.
Drury is history.


Yours respectfully,


Mr. Angry.


PS. Mrs. Angry sends her love.”

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