The loss of Margaret Ewing, formerly at BAA, and Alison Reed, at Standard
Life, has prompted concerns about the under-representation of women in FTSE
finance director roles. Currently, there are few high-profile female FDs beyond
Helen Weir at Lloyds TSB and Rosemary Thorne at Ladbrokes.
Mark Freebairn, head of the CFO practice at Odgers Ray & Berndtson, said
women would hold a much greater proportion of FD roles in the FTSE over the next
two to five years.
‘There are a really strong bunch of candidates coming through, with business
being much more equality-driven. But many won’t get to group FD of FTSE 100
companies until their late 30s or early 40s.
Carol Leonard, head of the board practice at Whitehead Mann, said there was a
good number of women coming through the finance profession.
‘We are looking at the potential of the second-in-commands, the financial
controllers of the FTSE, plus FDs lower down the market.’
Potential FTSE female finance executives include current Burberry FD Stacey
Cartwright and Liz Doherty, group international FD at Tesco.
The door is still very much open for Reed and Ewing to take on another
executive role or enter a portfolio career, said Freebairn.
‘They are both more than capable and have both done great jobs. They can do
whatever they want.’
A Deloitte survey this week found that just 3% of FTSE 350 directors are
female, the same as a year ago.
But there are slightly more women in non-executive roles, up to 10% in the
FTSE 350, compared to 9% the previous year.
• Katherine Lee, chief financial officer of YouGOV
• Caroline Price, former FD of TBI and Connaught
• Liz Doherty, group international FD at Tesco
• Stacey Cartwright , former Egg CFO and current Burberry FD
• Ruby McGregor-Smith, Mitie COO and its former FD
• Suzanne Baxter, Mitie group FD
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