Welcome Julia Wilson, the new FD at 3i, to a very exclusive club. It’s a club of two – the number of female finance directors working for FTSE100 companies. The other is Jann Brown the FD at Cairn Energy.
Jann had been on her own in this club for a little while after Helen Weir’s promotion from the group FD’s job at LloydsTSB.
But now it’s Julia, appointed today, and Jann, and very glad of the company she may be too.
The government’s equality commission recently concluded that the number of women in top executive jobs is declining. Not in the FTSE100 – the number just doubled. Sorry. If the numbers weren’t, in fact, so poor that would almost be a joke.
The fact is that two out of one hundred is a dismal figure even assuming, as some commentators insist, that women are not overlooked, they simply don’t take on the most demanding jobs because they want control over their lives.
Frankly, I wish men could do the same. But I can’t believe there are so many women of that mindset that nominally they occupy only 2% of the available FD seats in the country’s biggest quoted companies.
Recently I heard of a top female FD currently on the job market. She’s had top posts, been headhunted in the past and is considered an able if not more than able FD. Trouble is she earned the reputation of being outspoken and apparently, boards don’t like that. Apparently it creates friction. If it were a man however, I am sure he would merely be regarded as straight talking. And that’s quite a telling distinction.
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