Every FTSE 100 board now includes a woman after Glencore appointment
Glencore has become the last FTSE 100 company to finally add a woman to its board.
Patrice Merrin’s appointment to the board of Glencore Plc may not have meant much on its own, but in the wider context of the struggle to improve female representation in the business world, it marks a watershed moment.
On 26 June, the mining company finally bowed to years of pressure when it appointed Ms Merrin, who becomes the first woman to sit on the company’s board. In doing so, it brought in a new era in which every single company in the FTSE 100 now has at least one woman at the top.
It says something about how far the campaign for female representation has come that Glencore had acquired a bad reputation for its male-dominated management structure.
In fact, former chairman Simon Murray once told the Telegraph that women were less ambitious than men and would often prefer to raise children than progress – even though they were just as intelligent as male peers.
Just last month, business secretary Vince Cable criticised Glencore for its status as the last all-male FTSE 100 board, explaining he found it “simply not credible” that it could not find any suitable women to fulfil key leadership roles.
Although it has taken years for Glencore to choose a woman to serve as independent non-executive director, Ms Merrin’s credentials speak for themselves. At the age of 65 she has a wealth of experience – currently a non-executive director of Stillwater Mining Co., she was also formerly the chief operating officer at nickel and energy producer Sherritt International Corp.
“Patrice’s in-depth experience of operating across the resources sector will help strengthen the board’s ability to work with the opportunities and challenges presented by the global extractive industry,” said current chairman of the board Tony Hayward.
“Her record of non-executive director appointments, activist involvement and industry advisory board service is also an excellent complementary skill set to our board.”s
Female representation may still be low in the board room – after all, even Lord Davies’ target of having 25 per cent of board roles filled by women by 2015 still looks fairly distant – but hopefully Ms Merrin’s appointment will mark the start of a sharp upward swing.