Our inaugural Women in Finance ranking spotlights influential women across various sectors, including government, business, finance and accountancy, who are all leaders, trailblazers and transforming their respective fields.
Earlier this month, we put forward a longlist of female leaders to an audience vote. This week we’ll be announcing the results of the vote – listing five women each day ahead of the full ranking release of the Top 20 Women in Finance on 29 March.
So, to kick off the rankings, here are the first five women who have been named in positions 20-16 – based entirely on your votes.
20. Eileen Burbidge MBE, Partner, Passion Capital
In 2011, Burbidge co-founded venture capital firm Passion Capital, whose investments include Monzo, Ravelin and Swipe. Burbidge is currently a partner at the company.
She is HM Treasury’s special envoy for fintech and the chair of Tech City UK, the government-backed organisation supporting digital business across the UK. Burbidge is also a member of the prime minister’s business advisory group. In addition, she serves as non-executive director on numerous SMEs, including Monzo Bank, Digital Shadows and Tide.
19. Jayne-Anne Gadhia CBE, CEO, Virgin Money UK
Gadhia has been CEO of Virgin Money since 2007, after co-founding Virgin Direct in 1995 and working with RBS for several years before returning to the Virgin brand as chief executive.
She is the government’s Women in Finance champion, having led a review into the representation of women in senior management in financial services. The review made a series of recommendations to firms to improve gender diversity in the industry, including the appointment of a senior executive team member responsible for inclusions and gender diversity, the publication of internal targets for gender diversity in senior management, publication of progress against these targets, and ensuring that the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery of the diversity targets.
In response, HM Treasury launched the Women in Finance Charter, which has so far been signed by 162 firms committing to improving gender diversity in the workplace.
Gadhia is also a member of the prime minister’s business advisory group, a trustee of Business in the Community and member of the Tate Board of Trustees.
18. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General, CBI
Fairbairn has been director-general of the Confederation of British Industry since November 2015, working with government and businesses to drive growth and employment in the UK.
She began her career as an economist at the World Bank and as a journalist for The Economist publication.
Fairbairn is an advocate for British businesses in the UK and internationally, drawing on her wealth of experience from her career in business. She has been influential in the Brexit negotiations, with the CBI drawing on comments from UK businesses to call for the agreement a transition phase post-March 2019.
As well as her role at the CBI, Fairbairn is a trustee of charity Marie Curie.
Her non-executive director roles have included Lloyds Banking Group, The Vitec Group and Capita plc.
17. Carolyn McCall, CEO, ITV
McCall became CEO of ITV in January 2018 following eight years at the helm of easyJet during which she delivered company growth and rising passenger numbers.
She is a member of the board of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, a trustee at the Royal Academy and a non-executive director of Burberry. She is also recognised for her outstanding contribution to the aerospace industry with a Doctor of Science from Cranfield University. She was made a Dame in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list for services to the aviation industry.
McCall assures that TV is not dead and has spoken of what she plans to do in her new post, including pushing ITV’s support of an anti-obesity initiative called “The Daily Mile” in primary schools.
16. Barbara Judge CBE, Former Chair of Institute of Directors
Judge became the first female chair of the Institution of Directors in 2015. Seen as a champion of women, during her tenure she focused on encouraging women to join the organisation.
Outside of the IoD, Judge is a strong voice on the Brexit debate. She has held many roles in finance throughout her career, including as a member of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, an executive director of News International, and chair of UK Atomic Energy Authority.
However, Judge is no stranger to controversy. She resigned from the IoD this month over claims of bullying and racism. She has denied the allegations, vowing to contest the claims, stating in her resignation letter: “I continue to strongly refute the allegations made against me and remain deeply disturbed by the gross and conspiratorial mishandling of the process which has led to the damaging circumstances in which I and the Institute are now placed.”
Judge has temporarily stepped aside from her role as a trustee of Dementia UK until the IoD inquiry into the claims has concluded.
She was awarded a CBE in 2010 for services to the nuclear and financial services industries.
This article was updated on 3 April to reflect that Barbara Judge has temporarily stepped aside from her role as a trustee of Dementia UK, rather than left the position permanently.