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FTSE 350 under review in women on boards drive

The review will continue from Lord Davies’ previous Women on Boards Review

Philip Hampton, chair of GlaxoSmithKline and former chair of RBS and Sainsbury’s, has been appointed to lead an independent review on increasing representation of women at the executive level of FTSE 350 companies.

Dame Helen Alexander, chair of UBM, will take on the role of deputy chair of the review.

The new review will continue from Lord Davies’ Women on Boards Review, which saw female representation on boards in the FTSE 100 rise from 12.5% to above the target of 25%. It will focus on building a pipeline for female executives and emerging non-executive directors.

Hampton said he was “delighted” to take on the role and wants to turn his attention to the FTSE 350. “I will focus on improving representation in the executive layer of companies, as well as maintaining the momentum on boards,” he said. “This means looking at the talent pipeline for female executives and emerging non-executive directors to ensure we create opportunities and the right conditions for women to succeed.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said that diverse voices make for better business decisions. “That’s why it’s right to focus on getting more women in executive roles, because they take daily decisions, shape and define strategy, and influence culture through the everyday examples that they set,” she said.

She also called for "a target of 25% female senior executives in major UK companies”.

Women and equalities minister Nicky Morgan said that while the UK has come a long way, businesses must do more to make sure women are able to fulfil their potential. “Having more women on FTSE boards allows companies to benefit from the enormous wealth of talent they offer, and means these women can act as powerful role models for the next generation of girls,” she added.

“I want to see an end to all-male boards anywhere in the FTSE 350, and much more progress at the executive layer where we know it has been slowest to date. Men have a critical role to play in this and I look forward to working with Sir Philip and his team on this incredibly important agenda.”