Boardrooms are ignoring calls to get the right mix

The Government and UK businesses have ignored calls to promote boardroom
diversity when appointing non-executive directors, according to an influential
industry body.

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo),
which has 1,650 members with a combined turn-over of £7bn, said little progress
has been made in the 12 months since a government-backed report recommended
drastic changes to boardroom culture.

Speaking at a London summit last week, Stephen Bubb, head of Acevo, said:
"The signs are that, far from making progress, the Government and
businesses are losing interest. We should not have to wait for the next
corporate governance disaster before they do something about it."

Bubb revealed he wrote to the company secretaries of the entire FTSE 250, as
well as 20 top headhunters.

He asked whether any had taken steps to widen recruitment, or were
interested in considering not-for-profit sector chief executives as potential
non-executive directors. Only one firm replied.  And that company asked not to be contacted again.

The lack of interest comes a year after a report from the London Business
School concluded that to enhance boardroom effectiveness, non-executives needed
to be drawn from backgrounds other than white, middle-aged businessmen.

The DTI has ruled out changing the law to force companies to open up the
recruitment process, but said it was working to educate businesses about the
benefits of a diverse boardroom.

"It’s clear we’re still not welcome in the boardroom clubhouse,"
said Bubb.

"The Government seems unwilling to force businesses’ heads out of the
sand."

By Daniel Thomas

www.acevo.org.uk

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