Banks, Financial

Banking app targets millennials who want help budgeting

Graduate debt, rent and high living costs have made it hard for millennials to save for a house, a pension or even a holiday. For Ollie Purdue, a 23-year-old law graduate, this was reason enough to launch Loot, a banking app targeted at tech-dependent 20-somethings who want help to manage their money and avoid falling […]

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Eurozone inflation climbs to highest since April 2014

A welcome dose of good news before next week’s big European Central Bank meeting. Year on year inflation in the eurozone has climbed to its best rate since April 2014 this month, accelerating to 0.6 per cent from 0.5 per cent on the back of the rising cost of services and the fading effect of […]

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Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin hit by restructuring costs

Profits at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin were hit by restructuring costs as the company continued to shift its focus towards portfolio management. The FTSE 250 company reported pre-tax profits of £50.1m in the year to September 30, down 17.9 per cent from £61m the previous year. Finance director Andrew Westenberger said its 2015 figure was […]

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Travis Perkins and Polymetal to lose out in FTSE 100 reshuffle

Builders’ merchant Travis Perkins and mining company Polymetal face relegation from the FTSE 100 after their recent performances were hit by political events. The share price of Travis Perkins has dropped 29 per cent since the UK voted to leave the EU in June, as economic uncertainty has sparked concerns among some investors about the […]

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RBS share drop accelerates on stress test flop

Stressed. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have accelerated their losses this morning, falling over 4.5 per cent after the state-backed lender came in bottom of the heap in the Bank of England’s latest stress tests. RBS failed the toughest ever stress tests carried out by the BoE, with results this morning showing the lender’s […]

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Categorized | Financial

EU groups in push for women in top roles

Posted on February 29, 2012


Some of Europe’s biggest companies will on Thursday respond to political pressure by publishing their targets for increasing the number of women in senior corporate roles and launch a database of female board candidates.

The twin initiatives – under the umbrella of the European Round Table of Industrialists – come just days before Viviane Reding, European Union justice commissioner, is set to give her assessment of corporate progress in bringing more women on to boards. Ms Reding had threatened legislation if by this month she judged progress was insufficient and will make a statement on Monday.

Thirty-one companies have so far agreed to sign up to one or both ERT initiatives. They include Siemens, Total, Telefónica, BASF and Philips. Twenty-three of them will on Thursday publish their targets and timetable for increasing the percentage of executive or non-executive women.

STMicroelectronics’ president and chief executive Carlo Bozotti, who heads the ERT working group handling the initiatives, said that the organisation would have pressed ahead with its plans irrespective of the European commissioner’s imminent progress assessment.

“It’s not just a statement: it’s practical things that we’re doing here,” he said. ST, a Franco-Italian semiconductor company, aims to increase the number of women in management from 10 per cent now to 15 per cent in three years.

Ms Reding last year urged European companies to sign a voluntary “Women on the Board Pledge for Europe”, committing themselves to reach a target of 30 per cent for female board members by 2015 and 40 per cent by 2020. Only 24 have signed, none of them from among the 31 companies backing the ERT plans.

The ERT said that it preferred company-specific targets to a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Mr Bozotti pointed out that it was particularly challenging for industrial companies to improve the number of women in the executive “talent pipeline”. He said that the voluntary commitment would be reviewed annually at ERT level.

Nearly 20 ERT members will also work with three executive search firms – Egon Zehnder, Russell Reynolds and Spencer Stuart – to deepen the pool of potential female board members. Chief executives and chairmen will recommend women for inclusion in a new database, from which the headhunters will recommend candidates for board positions.

Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone, the telecoms group, said: “If each of us comes up with three to five names, suddenly we’re providing the system with a long list of hard-working, incredibly competent women [for board roles] … But we also need to enlarge the pipeline behind the board.”

Voluntary initiatives to increase the number of women in senior corporate ranks have proliferated in the past two years. In Europe, this has happened in parallel with threats to impose quotas.