London event, featuring Charlotte Hogg, Chief Operating Officer of the Bank of England and Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays sees future female leaders share their vision of a diverse workplace

Egon Zehnder, a global leader in executive search and leadership advisory services, hosted “Leaders and Daughters: Cultivating the Next Generation of Women Leaders” on March 8 in London. The event saw renowned business leaders – across finance and other sectors – and their talented daughters share their perspectives on the changes needed to help women achieve their career potential.

The panellists who spearheaded the discussion were Baroness Hogg, the first woman to chair a FTSE 100 company and her daughter Charlotte Hogg, Deputy Governor and Chief Operating Officer of the Bank of England. They were joined by Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and his daughter Camilla, as well as Mike Coupe, CEO of J Sainsbury plc and his daughter Georgie. Completing the panel was Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chair of BP and his daughter Jenny, alongside Penny James, Group Chief Risk Officer at Prudential. The event was moderated by Miranda Pode, Egon Zehnder’s office leader in London.

Leaders and Daughters explored the opportunities, challenges and expectations of young women and the solutions needed to enable them to become the next generation of leaders.

The discussion, timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, covered a range of topics, all based on how to inspire and accelerate opportunities for female leaders of the future including in the finance sector. Points discussed included:

  • Finance as a male-dominated industry – One speaker described how finance and insurance have a long way to go to improve its gender diversity and overcome perceptions of male dominance. However, progress is being made with developing the next generation of female leaders and it was commented that greater gender parity has made leadership teams less adversarial and more collaborative.
  • Preventing the ‘cliff edge’ – There was frequent discussion about female progression slowing down at the highest levels of an organisation. It was agreed that change needs to be driven at Board level in order to be successful, rather than being entrusted to a handful of diversity champions. Investment also needs to be made in ensuring that careers are seamlessly paused due to maternity leave rather than having to be re-started. One panellist discussed how she was promoted while on maternity leave, which was a wonderful signal from her company about the value they gave her.
  • The benefits of diversity and inclusion – There was consensus that an equal gender balance leads to better business performance. One speaker commented that as their customers and communities contain women, excluding them from the workforce would make little commercial sense, also severely limiting the potential talent pool.
  • Encouraging female entrepreneurs – The panel agreed on the need to encourage women to set up their own businesses. One panellist expressed the need to encourage female participation amongst technology and business subjects in school.

“Although finance has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated industry, huge strides have recently been made to ensure diverse and inclusive leadership teams.” said Andrew Roscoe of Egon Zehnder. “Eighteen months ago we announced our commitment to helping achieve 25 female chief executives of FTSE 100 companies by 2025. There is a long way to go to meet this goal and the finance sector will need to play a large role in order for this ambitious target to be met. Through events like Leaders and Daughters, we hope to both inspire young women and Britain’s businesses that gender parity can become a reality.”

The London event was one of 16 events organized by Egon Zehnder taking place around the world for International Women’s Day. The insights from each event will be used to create a global blueprint to effect positive change for young professional women.

A video of last night’s panel discussion can be watched here: