UK’s Leading Board & Executive Search Firm First to Set Target
Egon Zehnder, the leading privately-owned global executive search and advisory firm ranked top for board and leadership work in the UK*, is committing to a target of 25 female chief executives of FTSE 100 companies by 2015 – a five-fold increase on the number today.
The public commitment by the firm follows the appointment of its own female Managing Partner, Miranda Pode, to lead Egon Zehnder in the UK. Miranda has made it a personal priority to spearhead work with clients to identify, develop and retain their best women – helping to address years of sluggish progress in the numbers of female executives reaching the top.
“We are determined to help the next generation of female executives unlock their potential and become CEOs, and we are actively working with clients to bring this about,” said Miranda Pode, UK Managing Partner of Egon Zehnder. “The long term challenge for women isn’t just in the boardroom; the challenge is very much also at the executive level, and it isn’t enough simply to hire by gender. Leadership in the 21st century requires a complex set of skills, experiences and realization of each individual’s potential to truly maximize growth for their organizations. Our focus is on helping Britain’s largest companies do more to develop and retain their best women – this is what we think will bring real change.”
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The firm believes its ambition is achievable if one in six of new CEOs appointed over the next decade are female to FTSE 100, averaging three a year. Two thirds of CEOs are appointed from internal candidates, which means the majority of new CEOs would be internal promotions – putting the onus on companies to include more women in their leadership pipelines.
The new initiative, “25 by 25”, will be formally launched by the firm at an event in London next month for senior executives and FTSE Chairs to discuss women’s routes to the top. Speakers will include Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail, and Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior advisor at Egon Zehnder who has recently published a new book on the importance of a more diverse next generation of leaders.
As part of its commitment to support clients in the goal of 25 by 25, Egon Zehnder is:
– Helping to identify 40% of women among their high potential leadership candidates;
– Launching a leadership development programme for potential CEOs with Mobius, and developing one specific programme to the needs of women;
– Offering workshops in unconscious bias. The firm has already trained all London consultants on this.
– Helping clients identify and develop their top female talent to become Board ready.
– Continuing to work with the government and other external partners, such as the 30% Club, to increase the number of women in board-level roles. Egon Zehnder was one of the firms which helped to develop a code of conduct for the search industry in line with recommendations by Lord Davies.
– Sponsoring of a three-year PhD looking at potential gender bias in selection to be published soon from the University Of Cambridge Centre Of Gender Studies.
– The firm has tracked the progress of women on boards across Europe for the past ten years, via a comprehensive survey of the biggest companies in its European Board Diversity Analysis. The 2014 report will shortly be published globally, again showing that the key issue for women is to make faster progress through executive ranks.