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The HERoes Top 40 Advocate Executives

The HERoes Top Advocates 2019



The 2019 HERoes Advocates list celebrates 40 senior leaders who are advocates for women in business and dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive business environment for women.

These executives work within at least three levels from the chief executive at large companies, or are the leaders of smaller organisations.

All of the leaders were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward. Nominations were then reviewed by the HERoes judging panel who scored each person on the influence of their role, their impact on women inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.

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1) Johan Lundgren - EasyJet plc chief executive

Easyjet's Johan Lundgren

Johan is extremely proud of the work he and his team are doing to make easyJet an inclusive airline. EasyJet plc’s Board is 30% female, with Johan’s direct reports being 50% women.

When Johan joined easyJet as CEO, he demonstrated his personal commitment to equal pay and equal opportunity for women and men, asking the easyJet Board to reduce his pay to match that of easyJet’s former CEO, Carolyn McCall, when she was at easyJet.

The airline is on track to meet its ambitious target that 20% of its new cadet pilots will be female by 2020 and rates of pay are equal and standardised based on role and rank. As part of easyJet’s pioneering Amy Johnson initiative to encourage more girls to consider becoming a pilot, the company has launched a mentoring programme for Britain’s youngest pilot, Ellie Carter (16), with Training Captain Zoe Ebrey.

EasyJet supports Girlguiding’s aviation badge, and in FY18, easyJet pilots undertook over 100 visits to schools, youth and aeronautical organisations. easyJet’s commitment to integrating diversity and inclusion into its policies is demonstrated by the ITV documentary about trainee pilots at easyJet, “Inside the Cockpit”.

Exclusive Yahoo Finance interview: EasyJet's CEO on why aviation was late to the gender equality journey

2) Marc Benioff - Salesforce chairman and co-CEO

Salesforce's Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff is chairman, co-chief executive officer and founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Under Benioff's leadership, Salesforce is the fastest-growing top-five enterprise software company and the No. 1 provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software globally.

Benioff was named “Innovator of the Decade” by Forbes, is recognised as one of the world’s 25 greatest leaders by Fortune, and as one of the 10 best-performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review.

For his leadership on equality, Benioff has been honoured by GLAAD, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and Variety Magazine with its EmPOWerment Award. A member of the World Economic Forum ("WEF") Board of Trustees, Benioff serves as the inaugural Chair of WEF's Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

Benioff received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, where he is on its Board of Trustees.

3) Keith Barr - Intercontinental Hotels Group CEO

IHG's Keith Barr. Photo: Marcus Lyon

Keith became IHG’s CEO in July 2017 and is a passionate advocate and believer that a balanced workforce is critical to the company’s success. Under Keith’s leadership, IHG’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda has gone from strength to strength.

In 2018, he established a D&I Board which he chairs, to reinforce IHG’s ambitions in this space and to prioritise areas where the company can make a real impact, including addressing an under-representation of females in senior leadership roles. Since becoming IHG’s CEO, female representation on the company’s executive committee (EC) has increased to almost a third, and nearly 40% of the EC and their direct reports are women. This is in addition to the 36% female representation IHG has at Board level.

IHG also has an external target to increase the percentage of diverse senior leaders (in terms of gender and nationality/ethnicity) and the percentage of females working in general manager and operations roles in managed hotels. To meet these goals, the company has launched initiatives including conscious inclusion training for the entire organisation, and a mentoring programme called RISE, which supports women who aspire to become hotel general managers.

Keith is a founding member of the advisory board for Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure 2020 group, and is a member of The 30% Club. He speaks regularly on the importance of D&I and uses social media and his internal blog to discuss the importance of D&I at IHG, and has hosted events dedicated to celebrating and championing D&I.

4) Ajay Banga - Mastercard president and chief executive

Mastercard's Ajay Banga

Ajay has forged a company and culture at Mastercard where inclusion, opportunity and empowerment for women are global priorities. He’s made gender equality a central, guiding theme – not only for the company’s diversity, inclusion and hiring efforts, but in Mastercard’s business strategy in general.

Under Ajay’s guidance, Mastercard has created a global female leadership development programme to identify next-generation talent and ensure they have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for broader roles within the company. Additionally, Mastercard’s Women’s Leadership Network has expanded to 31 chapters around the world, supporting the growth and development of 3,500 members.

Ajay’s vision of Mastercard becoming a leader in products designed for women and his support in helping them get access to finance and funding shows up in many of the company’s programmes, including supply chain financing for micro-businesses and entrepreneurs in markets where women represent a large, underserved segment; and linking identification to payments to benefit the millions of women globally who lack formal ID. Ajay provided the pioneering vision for Girls4Tech™, the award-winning education programme developed in conjunction with top engineers and technologists to teach STEM foundations and principles to girls aged 8-13 around the world.

Beyond Mastercard, Ajay is involved in global initiatives and organisations that encourage and empower women financially. He is an investor in Ellevest, has partnered with World Bank to help women in under-developed areas, and regularly speaks to executive groups and student groups on diversity and inclusion.

5) Peter T. Grauer - Bloomberg LP chairman

Bloomberg's Peter Grauer

Peter has been the leading force and champion of diversity and inclusion efforts at Bloomberg, holding the company’s business leaders accountable for the development and execution of business-specific diversity and inclusion plans.

Under this leadership, Bloomberg expanded its Financial Services Gender-Equality Index in 2018 to launch its first sector-neutral version. The success of last year’s inaugural Bloomberg Equality Summit, part of the company’s cross-platform editorial initiative focused on supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workforce, has led to further events in New York, London and Mumbai.

Bloomberg News’ New Voices initiative aims to increase the representation of women sources in both online and on-air content. Last year, Peter launched a “Chairman’s Challenge,’ a firm-wide competition to encourage the development of innovative diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Externally, Peter is the Founding Chairman of the US 30% Club, creating numerous initiatives focused on increasing the pipeline of female talent. Initiatives include a cross-company mentoring programme, a partnership with theBoardlist, and a Future Female Directors programme. Peter also serves as a mentor with Catalyst’s Women On Board programme.

6) Shazad Dada - Standard Chartered Pakistan chief executive

Standard Chartered's Shazad Dada

As CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited (SCBPL), Shazad is committed to creating an inclusive environment which leverages colleagues' diverse strengths and positively impacts clients and communities. Under Shahzad’s leadership, SCBPL has made significant strides towards becoming an inclusive gender balanced organisation. Presently, 27% of SCBPL’s workforce is female in contrast to 2014 whereby the female participation rate was 21%.

During Shahzad’s tenure, SCBPL has embedded flexible working practices, revised parental leave benefits, introduced mentoring and wellness sessions for women and most importantly increased focus on hiring, retaining and promoting women. In addition, SCBPL launched its Inclusive Leadership Programme which is designed to support over 550 people leaders in understanding the importance of developing an inclusive work environment by equipping them with the essential skills to drive change and mitigate bias.

Shazad sits on the Standard Chartered Global D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) Council, responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the D&I strategy which covers gender equality as well. He is also the member of SC Global Community Programmes Steering Group championing the GOAL programme. The programme aims to empower adolescent girls become integral economic leaders and has benefited over 6,000 girls in Pakistan alone. SCBPL also supports female entrepreneurs in Pakistan via its #SCWomenInTech programme. Shazad is an advocate of increasing female representation in senior roles and enabling a discrimination free reward and performance decision-making, principles emanating out of SC Group’s commitment to UK HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter and the Fair Pay Charter.

Externally, Shazad chairs the board of directors for Developments in Literacy (DIL) in Pakistan which primarily focuses on providing educational opportunities for girls. Furthermore, Shazad is a great ambassador for gender equality and regularly speaks and participates as a panellist and keynote speaker at external events to bolster change.

7) Dominic Christian - Aon global chairman of reinsurance solutions

Aon's Dominic Christian

Dominic has personally signed up to the 30% Club, signed Aon’s Gender Pay Gap Report, and signed Aon up to the Women in Finance Charter. Aon has also signed up to The Diversity Project, which drives gender parity in the investment sector, and is keenly involved in the programme.

Dominic is the overall executive sponsor of all seven Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and the lead of the Diversity Council at Aon, whose extremely active gender network recently changed its name to Gender IQ to encourage male participation.

Dominic mentors eight women, and as part of the sponsorship programme, sponsors three senior females on a regular and engaged basis. He also mentors a female actuary, who is a rising star at Aon, and is reverse mentored by a female apprentice. Aon’s target is to reach 30% female representation on their senior leadership team by 2020, and the company has a number of strategies in place to support this, such as an inclusive early careers programme.

Externally, he is the chairman of Inclusion@Lloyds, a committed group of senior individuals from across the insurance industry who champion diversity and inclusion. He was instrumental in the launch of the Dive In Festival – an annual celebration of diversity which in 2017 saw 80 events take place in 17 countries and 32 cities. On International Women’s Day, Dominic hosted various events at Aon, and an industry-wide one, with Inclusion@Lloyds.

8) Joshua Graff - LinkedIn UK country manager and vice president of marketing solutions EMEA and LATAM

LinkedIn's Joshua Graff

In 2015, Josh set a goal of achieving 50/50 gender balance across the LinkedIn EMEA advertising business. This goal has been achieved, with 50% of roles across all functions being held by women. Josh has introduced a gender aware recruitment process across the whole UK business, which has seen significant movement towards achieving gender balance.

Last year, Josh drove the roll out of unconscious bias training for all 300+ LinkedIn employees in the UK office, and he mentors numerous female leaders inside and outside of LinkedIn.

He supported the creation of robust leadership programmes focused on developing the next generation of leadership talent amongst women and under-represented groups, including Women’s Initiative (WiN), where he acts as a mentor and sponsor. He has also ensured that LinkedIn has been a positive influence on other businesses in its role as a tool to source and hire diverse talent.

Outside of the company, using LinkedIn’s gender trends data, Josh regularly talks about the benefits of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the press, as well as sharing specific actions that companies can take to create a more inclusive environment at industry conferences, including ISBA, the IoD and CBI. He has also spearheaded important gender research leveraging LinkedIn’s data and in-conjunction with WACL (Women in Advertising & Communications London) initiated workshops on D&I for senior male leaders in the media, marketing and communications sector.

9) David Hynam - Bupa Global and UK chief executive

Bupa's David Hynam

In 2019, Bupa has committed to taking three important steps towards gender diversity: continuing to build a strong pipeline of female talent; working towards more balanced gender representation in recruitment; and doing more to support people returning to work, and with parental and caring responsibilities.

Last year, David launched the “Everyone’s Welcome” pledge and the “Be You at Bupa” initiative, celebrating a positive and fully inclusive working environment. He is global sponsor for Bupa Advance, a development programme with around 50% women participating. He is also global lead for both health care management and aged care, with the majority of those in aged care being women.

Bupa is a signatory of the Women in Finance Charter and member of the 30% Club. Bupa is the first UK-owned company to extend health cover for employees to include gender dysphoria, and have a successful mum’s returners’ network. David led the launch of a new code of conduct focused on inclusivity, and provides CEO sponsorship for Bupa’s DiverCity network.

Externally, David has been involved in many inclusion initiatives and programmes, including mentoring several women, and acting as a Trustee for the Bupa UK Foundation, primarily supporting carers, mid-life mental health and young adults living with health challenges.

10) Lou Maiuri - State Street Corporation chief operating officer

State Street's Lou Maiuri

Lou is currently the executive sponsor of State Street’s Professional Women’s Network (PWN), an employee resource group providing professional development opportunities to women across the company.

As part of his work with PWN, Lou launched and continues to lead the PWN’s global advisory board – a group of senior executives who advise on policies that drive diverse hiring and promotional practices. He also encourages colleagues and peers to participate in PWN events as he strongly believes that networking and conversations will help to drive a strong pipeline of female talent through the organisation.

To help change the face of financial services, and make sure that the organisation reflects the communities where employees live and work, Lou is also an active champion of diverse hiring practices, and actively encourages his teams to bring in diverse slates of talent when making hiring decisions, which has resulted in hiring of several women for key leadership roles across State Street.

Lou often presents on career management and talent management to give women the tools they need to advance their careers. He mentors many women throughout State Street, and is an active supporter of the Esperanza Academy, a tuition-free, independent middle school welcoming girls of diverse faiths, races and cultures in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

11) Iain Anderson - Cicero Group executive chairman

Cicero's Iain Anderson

Iain sponsored Cicero to become the first communications company to join the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter and set ambitious targets for a 50/50 gender balance in their first year of recruitment, which has been surpassed. Cicero is also part of the 30% Club and actively participates in its mentoring programme.

Cicero has supported the City of London's initiatives around women at work in the City, and has provided pro bono support to the Diversity Project for the asset management sector. Cicero has recently been awarded the PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) Workplace Champions award for its work in supporting diversity at work.

Cicero supports LGBT+ women at work with OUTstanding and supports the Women in Public Affairs network. Iain has been named as one of the PRCA 50 for 50 champions of diversity. He has appeared on BBC Question Time this year speaking about the importance of diversity and has worked with the 10 Downing Street business liaison team to support the Diversity Project.

He is a non-executive Director of the global fintech body Innovate Finance, where he chairs the fintech strategy board. The board has launched key initiatives in 2019 around women in finance, including a schools’ careers programme, and support for the Rose Review.

12) Mark Read - WPP chief executive

WPP's Mark Read

Since becoming CEO in September 2018, Mark has made culture a cornerstone of WPP’s new strategy. His commitment to create a more inclusive WPP has led to an increase in the proportion of women at the most senior levels: The number of women on WPP’s board has increased to 42%, and the number of women leading WPP’s 20 biggest global brands has doubled under his leadership.

Mark continues to champion WPP’s Stella, Propeller and Walk the Talk networks, which provide mid-level and senior women with networking, coaching and help with increasing their internal and external profiles. He and his team have introduced new guidelines for best-practice maternity, paternity and flexible working policies, and made unconscious bias training part of WPP’s ethics training for all staff. Mark has been vocal about the need for WPP and the wider industry to reflect the diversity of society to help clients better connect with consumers.

In January, through his membership of the Male Champions of Change Global Tech Group, he called on male leaders to improve gender equality in the technology sector. Mark sees pay gap reporting as a positive move, forcing businesses to act faster and think harder about what can be done to achieve the ultimate goal of equal representation in executive leadership.

He shared WPP’s own challenges at the launch event of the Women in Advertising and Communications report into the industry’s gender “leadership gap,” speaking of a need for a generational and cultural shift in leadership to better understand what women need to succeed.

13) Michael Cole-Fontayn - The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) chairman

AFME's Michael Cole-Fontayn

As chairman of AFME, Michael has been instrumental in driving forward diversity and inclusion initiatives. One key example is through the formation of AFME’s diversity group and women’s network, where Michael has helped to shape the groups’ strategy and deliverables to ensure AFME’s diversity and inclusion policies are relevant and achievable.

Michael has encouraged AMFE to support inclusive organisations by hosting events and urging staff to attend diversity and inclusion sessions. Over the last year, Michael also joined the Women in Banking in Finance (WIBF) as patron.

Through his leadership, he has encouraged AFME to become an associate WIBF member and all staff now have access to the women’s networking events and resources on offer. Michael is also a passionate advocate of ensuring diversity on panel representation at AFME’s 40 annual events and conferences across Europe.

Externally, Michael mentors under the 30% Club programme and the Mission INCLUDE programme, where he sits on the steering committee. He is actively involved in opening the conversation around women’s workforce equality, LGBT+ rights, mental health, and is an active supporter of City Mental Health Alliance. He is a regular panellist and keynote speaker on all things diversity and inclusion.

14) Peter Harrison - Schroders group chief executive

Schroders' Peter Harrison

At Schroders, Peter has introduced 50/50 gender splits at entry-level assessment centres and ensures that the firm only uses executive search firms signed up to the Voluntary Code of Conduct on Gender Diversity.

Among many other effective initiatives to build gender diversity, Peter has introduced diversity targets linked to individual pay outcomes for senior management, and ensured Schroders was the first FTSE 100 firm to publish its gender pay gap data.

Parental leave policies and global flexible working policies have been reviewed and improved under Peter’s leadership, a trans policy has been introduced, a mentoring scheme launched and unconscious bias training rolled out. Peter has introduced ambitious targets for female representation at Schroders, which the company is on track to meet by 2020.

Beyond Schroders, Peter is chair of the Investment Association and holds positions on the advisory boards of the Diversity Project, CFA and CityUK, where he champions D&I. He led Schroders in signing up to the Women in Finance Charter, and supports Schroders’ initiatives to improve financial education at school level through to apprenticeships and work experience, among other outreach initiatives. Under Peter’s guidance, Schroders has proudly sponsored numerous awards recognising women in STEM careers and investment.

15) David Sproul - Deloitte senior partner and chief executive

Deloitte's David Sproul

As part of David’s ongoing focus on ensuring Deloitte provides a truly inclusive culture, he has rolled out innovative agile working and return-to-work initiatives, targeted career development training, and reviewed all recruitment processes to ensure they are free from bias.

Deloitte has also created development programmes for high-potential female practitioners; including each member of the Executive team sponsoring a female senior manager. David has taken personal ownership of progress towards achieving the target of having 25% female partners by 2020 in the UK, rising to 40% by 2030.

He has also been a keen advocate of increasing pay gap transparency: Deloitte was one of the first large companies to voluntarily report their gender pay gap in the UK in 2015 before it was mandatory, and has reported it annually ever since. In order to further increase transparency, David was passionate about voluntarily calculating Deloitte’s “total earnings gap,” which the company has now committed to publishing each year.

Externally, he is an active supporter of the Women’s Business Council and was included in its Agents for Change list last year. Over the last few months, David has given interviews to national media and written about the importance of committing to changing cultures in organisations, generating significant media coverage. He uses platforms outside Deloitte including CBI and London First but also schools and other groups to argue the case for a truly inclusive workplace and for gender equality in the workplace.

16) Ivan Menezes - Diageo chief executive

Diageo's Ivan Menezes

Ivan is extremely proud that Diageo has been recognised by the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, ranked fourth in the Thomson Reuters Global Diversity and Inclusion Index, and by Equileap as the best company for gender equality in the UK.

Ivan has led his team in introducing many gender initiatives at Diageo, including ambitious family leave policies that equalise maternity leave globally, and in many markets see new fathers employed by Diageo able to take 26 weeks of fully paid paternity leave including the UK, across Europe, North America, Thailand and the Philippines. Today 44% of Diageo’s Board and 40% of Diageo’s Executive Committee are women, and Ivan has placed targets at 40% female representation in senior leadership roles by 2025.

Externally, Ivan has spoken at an event hosted by the Women’s Business Council, outlining why diversity is a business imperative, which requires a commitment from the top and action at all levels to create an environment where everyone can achieve their potential. He has spoken at numerous events on the importance of diversity and inclusion, and has been recognised for his efforts with a plethora of awards.

This year, Diageo became an official sponsor of Creative Equals’ Returners programme, to help women return to work in the creative industries following a career break. They also recently celebrated one year on from pledging to “Free the Bid,” an initiative to promote equal opportunities for women in the advertising industry.

17) Ron O’Hanley - State Street Corporation chief executive

State Street's Ron O'Hanley

During his tenure leading State Street’s asset management arm, State Street Global Advisors, Ron’s stewardship team focused on gender diversity on boards, following research linking gender diversity to better business outcomes.

In 2017 Ron and his team called on boards to ensure they were focusing on gender diversity as a reflection of board quality and overall cognitive diversity. They committed to voting against the member slates of those boards that had no women and no plan in place to add women.

On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2017, Ron’s team placed the Fearless Girl statue in the centre of Wall Street as a symbolic call for more women on boards. Fearless Girl ignited a global conversation about the power of women in leadership and inspired companies around the world to add women to their boards. Since launching the campaign, 445 companies of the 1,265 identified have responded to the call to action by either adding a female director or committing to do so.

As the CEO of State Street, Ron continues to be laser-focused on gender diversity, introducing company-wide diversity goals and comprehensively diverse talent slates, among other initiatives. Externally, Ron is a frequent speaker at important corporate governance/gender diversity events, and is a member of the 30% Club and the Boston Foundation board of directors.

18) Justin D’Agostino - Herbert Smith Freehills executive partner

Herbert Smith Freehills' Justin D'Agostino

This year, Justin championed the introduction of a market-leading shared parental leave policy which is available to the firm's employees across its nine Asia offices, supporting all parents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or other circumstances. The policy creates a ground-breaking “sharing” arrangement that allows working parents to organise their families as they see fit rather than being cast in typical “maternity” and “paternity” gender roles.

Justin is also focused on breaking down barriers that prevent women from reaching the highest levels, advocating for the introduction of gender targets in the firm, resulting in 33% women in the Asia partnership. He was instrumental in the introduction of new, stretch global targets in May 2019, stating that women will comprise 35% of the global partnership and partner leadership roles by 2023.

Justin is also a personal sponsor and mentor to numerous high-performing women across the firm, and executive sponsor of the firm’s IRIS (LGBT+) Network, and led the development of the firm's Asia Multicultural Network in 2018.

Beyond Herbert Smith Freehills, Justin is a member of the 30% Club HK as well as BritCham's HK Women in Business Committee, through which he acts as a vocal ally and champion of gender equity across Hong Kong.

19) Rob Mukherjee - EveryCloud Security director of transformation

EveryCloud Security's Rob Mukherjee

Having fundamentally changed the focus on gender inclusion at Vodafone across the North of England - culminating in receiving the Women In Sales Awards (Europe) “Male Mentor of the Year” and Northern Power Women “Agent Of Change” Award – Rob left Vodafone in October 2018 to join the board of EveryCloud Security.

In his first month in the new role, Rob teamed up with EY and Northern Power Women to have EveryCloud engage in the Northern Power Futures programme, aimed at inspiring and engaging more women into tech careers. As part of EveryCloud’s 2019 recruitment plan, Rob spent International Women’s Week engaging with a number of women who had recently been made redundant in the North of England.

In addition to recruiting female talent into EveryCloud, he was able to help coach other women to find new roles elsewhere that suited their talents and ambitions. He has championed flexible working initiatives and encouraged female colleagues to attend the Institute of Directors annual “Enterprising Women” conference.

Beyond EveryCloud, Rob works closely with Northern Power Women, judging the 2019 and 2020 annual awards and working to encourage more senior male support. He has mentored and sponsored many women who have been made redundant this year, and speaks regularly on panels to promote gender inclusion, among many other similar effective activities.

20) Richard Robinson - Xeim Advise (Centaur Media) managing director

Xeim's Richard Robinson

Richard believes in positive, direct action led by empowered individuals. He was named one of thirty “Male Agents of Change” challenging gender inequality by the Women’s Business Council & Management Today.

At Centaur Media, Richard enjoys working with an executive committee featuring 60% female representation, including the CEO and COO. The overall workforce is balanced across genders, with many taking advantage of flexible working policies, including senior executives. Richard and his team implement enhanced maternity and paternity leave, actively encourage returnship where over four out of five return to work, and ensure all London-based employees are paid above the London Living Wage.

Within Xeim Advise, Richard motivates his teams to directly impact diversity and inclusivity through pro-bono time and connections with fifteen diversity and inclusivity organisations he has supported for many years. The team have supported the “Be Awesome Night School” for women; operationally support Creative Equals’ events and accelerator programmes for female professionals; contribute to Badass.Gal; built a new guard of talent in schools through BIMA & The Ideas Foundation; and mentor across the industry through NABS and WhosYourMomma.

Externally, Richard sits on the leadership teams of pioneering networks such as Creative Equals, Token Man and The Ideas Foundation, among others. He regularly speaks on diversity and inclusion at conferences and has mentored dozens of women through various schemes.

21) Matthew Krentz - Boston Consulting Group managing director and senior partner

BCG's Matthew Krentz. Photo: Frederik Boettcher

Matthew is the diversity and inclusion and leadership chair for Boston Consulting Group, and leads the Women@BCG program, which aims to improve women’s recruiting, retention, advancement and satisfaction at the firm.

Under Matthew’s leadership, BCG has increased the proportion of women in entry level hires from 29% to 35%, women and men are retained at equal rates and the number of female partners has grown at three times the rate of male partners.

He is involved in a number of organisations that promote women in business including Catalyst’s Board of Advisors, and The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. In 2016 and 2017, Matthew led TEDWomen workshops focused on promoting women’s inclusion and men’s role in advancing gender diversity, and frequently sits on panels on the topic.

He has also authored many publications which have been shared in the press, with clients and in women’s forums including “How AI Could Help—or—Hinder Women in the Workforce (BCG May 2019),” “Diversity Is Just the First Step. Inclusion Comes Next. (BCG April 2019),” “Lightening the Mental Load that Holds Women Back (BCG April 2019),” and “What Diversity and Inclusion Policies Do Employees Actually Want? (Harvard Business Review February 2019),” among others.

22) Andrew Keating - Bank of Ireland group chief financial officer

Bank of Ireland's Andrew Keating

Andrew is proactive in challenging inequality, and establishing and embedding strategic support to create a more inclusive working environment where diversity thrives. He has worked closely with the group CEO to establish a leadership goal for all appointments to senior management and leadership to reflect a 50:50 gender ratio by 2021.

He has built awareness and understanding of the importance of gender diversity through encouraging his team to lead by example, through educational support including unconscious bias training and by speaking passionately internally and externally and communicating regularly with all colleagues.

Andrew also published the “Group Finance Maternity Charter,” a leadership commitment to supporting the needs of expectant and new working mothers, and regularly hosts lunches with colleagues who are returning from maternity leave to network and build confidence. He commissioned a return to work pilot scheme, actively engages men in gender diversity and hosts a regular ‘Role Model’ networking series with senior female leaders.

Externally, among other initiatives and engagements, Andrew established the Gold Sovereign award. Until 1972, when Ireland joined the EU, upon marriage, women were required by law to leave employment and ‘return to the home’, and were presented with a gold sovereign on their departure. Andrew repurposed the gold sovereign, presenting them to people who are driving the diversity and inclusion agenda in the organisation and in wider society.

23) Osman Faiz - Standard Chartered Bank chief operating officer, Singapore

Standard Chartered's Osman Faiz

Osman was instrumental to the launch of HeForShe at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore in 2018, which has now evolved into a global network at Standard Chartered Bank Group.

HeForShe currently has over 150 senior male leaders who are committed to helping hundreds of mid-level female executives pursue their personal and professional ambitions. Osman also helped launch HeForShe in his home country, Bangladesh, making it one of the first Muslim markets in Standard Chartered Bank Group to have a HeForShe network.

He is a key advocate of diversity and inclusion at Standard Chartered Bank Singapore and of the corporate target of 30% women in key leadership roles. He has always ensured a fair representation of women on interviewing panels and candidate slates in Information Technology and Operations functions, leading to 55% of his 400 employees being women.

Externally, Osman supports HeForShe Singapore and mentors a group of 10 high potential women. He is also a sponsor of the ‘Women in Tech’ initiative, which offers university students educational visits to Standard Chartered Bank. Osman recently hosted a visit by 26 students from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business to learn about how technology is changing the future of banking.

24) Lee Ranson - Eversheds Sutherland chief executive

Evershed Sutherland's Lee Ranson

During Lee’s tenure as managing partner and now chief executive, Eversheds Sutherland has elected its first female chair and met its initial target of having 25% female partners in the business one year ahead of the set timescale. The new target is 30% by 2021.

Lee personally leads on Eversheds’ diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy and appointed its first gender champion and diversity and inclusion partner sponsor in 2019. He was the first member of Eversheds’ Gender Network, which is currently working to engage male champions across the business as part of the #balanceforbetter campaign.

Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated across the firm, with the day kicking off with a personal video or message of thanks from Lee and a celebration of the talents and contributions of female colleagues.

He also launched Eversheds’ Development Plus programme to support career progression of women at the firm. Externally, Lee is a frequent speaker and panellist at legal industry conferences on D&I and is often quoted in the legal industry press.

25) Richard Gnodde - Goldman Sachs International chief executive

Goldman Sachs' Richard Gnodde

Richard sponsors the EMEA Inclusion & Diversity Committee (IDC) at Goldman Sachs, which is responsible for maximising the potential of GS’ talent, is accountable for diversity in hiring and progression and has a mandate to drive positive cultural change.

Richard has led the firm’s efforts to shift the needle on its culture, including creating an annual IDC Townhall, with quarterly updates on progress, achievements and opportunities in the diversity and inclusion space; monthly “Chats with IDC” hosted by IDC members; an internal panel series acknowledging both progress made and remaining targets; and a “partner cascade” series, encouraging self-reflection on acts which can enhance or erode inclusion.

Richard has also sponsored the Affinity Network Fair, hosted breakfast for nearly 50 GS women partners, clients and graduates of GS’ 10,000 Small Businesses UK, endorsed the firm’s support of the Diversity Project and championed “Launch with GS,” a £500m investment in women-led businesses.

Beyond GS, Richard hosts the annual “When Women Lead” event at London’s Serpentine Pavilion, gathering over 600 women to celebrate the achievements of women from a host of industries. He supports the Cambridge Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre and was instrumental in GS becoming headline sponsors of their 2019 conference. He was also involved in the firm’s sponsorship of the Women of the Square Mile Conference.

26) David Harkness - Clifford Chance LLP partner

Clifford Chance's David Harkness

David has made it his mission to change the culture at Clifford Chance. He chairs a group aiming to address the firm’s diversity issues relating to gender. The group persuaded the firm’s management to publish all pay gap data, including partners, plus data on ethnicity, sexuality and disability pay gaps as well as gender.

David has championed a series of initiatives to promote diversity, including a successful pilot of reverse mentoring; designated partners at every meeting where pay or promotion is discussed, charged with ensuring gender diversity is respected; a network of “inclusion advocates” trained to help and support those facing harassment issues; equalising the firm's shared parental leave package; and refreshing and relaunching the firm’s women's group as a global gender parity network.

David has spoken at a series of partner events to make sure that every one of Clifford Chance’s 150+ London partners is aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) and of the great damage that sexist behaviour and harassment can present.

Externally, David supports and encourages academic research in D&I, particularly Jill Armstrong of Murray Edwards College Cambridge. He has attended many events promoted by Women's groups to try and deliberately be the only man in a room full of women, in order to understand the minority experience and promote male advocacy. David also supports Tender, a charity dedicated to reducing domestic violence.

27) Olly Benzecry - Accenture UK and Ireland chairman and country and director

Accenture's Olly Benzecry

Under Olly’s leadership, Accenture has embedded diversity across all HR processes: recruitment; development; and performance. He is a coach and mentor to several senior women and in recent years has overseen many initiatives to support women’s development in the workplace.

These include refocusing Accenture’s Women’s network to an inclusive gender network, resulting in greater engagement from men in Accenture-run programmes, and normalising its market-leading shared parental leave (SPL) provision in 2015, which has seen 350+ applicants since its inception. He also championed the creation of Accenture’s 50:50 gender-equal culture.

Olly is highly committed to the success and promotion of Accenture’s corporate social responsibility programmes, which have seen over 100,000 users of the firm’s Skills to Succeed Academy and taken more than 840 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through their “Movement to Work Programme” since 2014. All employees are encouraged to contribute to their local communities, with 3,250 UKI employees using 42,000 volunteering hours in the last financial year.

Under Olly’s leadership, Accenture has put a huge focus on the talent agenda; sponsoring 14 University Women’s Societies, 46 school events and mentoring over 80 SME women CEOs through their business mentoring programmes.

28) Gabriel Martino - HSBC Argentina CEO

HSBC's Gabriel Martino

Gabriel has a very strong commitment to HSBC’s global diverse workspace strategy, as the main sponsor of Argentina’s four HSBC employee resource groups. In 2018, he signed up to the UN Women and UN Global Compact WEPs (Women’s Empowerment Principles) agreement on behalf of HSBC Argentina, and since then has been involved in different aspects that make gender balance and equality a priority on the company's agenda.

In 2019, Gabriel led HSBC Argentina’s “No means No” campaign to raise awareness about gender violence and harassment, as well as to make women aware of their own rights. It was the first time that a brand used a characteristic feature of the business – the ATM – to deliver diversity messages in Argentina.

Under Gabriel’s leadership, more than half of HSBC Argentina associates are women, with women’s representation in senior roles increasing to 30% from 22% over the last four years.

Externally, Gabriel was one of the 12 CEOs to undertake and sign the Leading Men for Change initiative of Upward – Uniting Professional Women Accelerating Relationships & Development. He is one of the five Argentine leaders invited to participate in the INADI (National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism) debates, to share experiences, challenges and achievements in diversity management in the workspace. Gabriel was also vice president of IDEA (Institute of Entrepreneurship Development of Argentina), which gathers CEOs and owners of many enterprises in Argentina in an annual Colloquium where Gender balance was included in the agenda for the first time.

29) Andrew Pearce - Accenture managing director

Accenture's Andrew Pearce

Globally, Andrew is one of Accenture’s cross-cultural leads, tasked with educating and setting best practice examples for working across cultures and ethnicities. With most Accenture operations employees based in India, within his remit as operations managing director it is Andrew’s duty to look at ways in which the company creates an inclusive environment that champions women in the workplace.

Andrew is the executive sponsor for Accenture’s African-Caribbean Network, and works with global leadership to open and grow opportunities for future women MDs. Andrew is a member of the executive leadership council and has been actively engaged in a number of the events and initiatives that the UK chapter are running.

He often speaks on diversity, and encourages senior managers to support coaching and volunteering efforts with local communities. He is committed to offering a platform for female leaders to thrive within a business environment and currently mentors three professional women outside Accenture, providing career guidance and helping them to maximise their potential within the challenges of their diverse organisations.

Andrew is also a non-executive director at Kingston University, looking in particular at how to include gender diversity in the academic staff, and a mentor at Harringay Secondary School, supporting young women as they start their journey into future careers.

30) Karl Edge - KPMG LLP Midlands regional chairman

KPMG's Karl Edge

Karl has championed creating an environment where everyone flourishes and has particularly focused on female talent in his two and a half years as Midlands regional chair.

He created and delivered the firm’s “What shadow do we cast?” programme to inspire all partner and director groups to consider their role as leaders and try new ways of working to create an inclusive environment. He sponsors KPMG’s Network of Women, hosting sessions to discuss challenges to diversity and inclusion, and mentors potential women partners.

Karl also created a female partner/director community specifically working together to help each other and to inform him on how to remove barriers to their progression. He has driven the roll out of his team’s “Beliefs, Biases and Behaviours” training programme and launched a “Shadow Board,” 50% of whom are female, to be a sounding board and challenger group for the Midlands leadership team.

Externally, Karl has sponsored the creation of a Women in Business external network comprising of female leaders and top talent from some of the largest and fastest growing businesses in the region. The Hampton Alexander Review, sponsored by KPMG, is a key platform around female progression for the firm, and Karl has assisted in promoting and hosting events in the Midlands to share learning with clients and others.

31) Paul Van der Burgh - Toyota GB PLC president and managing director

Toyota's Paul Van de Burgh

Under Paul’s leadership, Toyota GB has launched flexible working guidelines for all staff, adjusted language used in job profiles to avoid deterring women and has sent targeted communications to female placement students to explain opportunities in the industry.

Toyota GB actively participates in the 30% Automotive Club, offering an external mentoring scheme for thirty female colleagues, and its “Women in Business” networking sessions enable women to learn from each other and understand the career journeys of senior female leaders.

Recently, Paul’s team launched a “Women on the Verge of Brilliance” programme, helping women to take control of their professional development, with discussion and tools around managing perception with critical audiences, building a personal reputation management campaign, emotional resilience and mental toughness. The company diversity and inclusion strategy is fully endorsed by the TGB Board, and Paul now hopes to influence Toyota’s European Head Office to follow its lead.

Externally, Paul is a member of the 30% Club and founder member of the Automotive 30% Club, whose conferences he sponsors and regularly participates in as a panel member and speaker. This year, Toyota sponsored Autocar’s “Great British Women, Top 100 list, rising stars” awards and through its involvement with the Automotive 30% Club, TGB is also sponsoring “Inspiring” — a new digital magazine aimed at creating a super network of women in the automotive industry that can share best practices, tips, advice and generally learn from each other.

32) Mark Burgess - Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ EMEA chief investment officer

Columbia Threadneedle Investments' Mark Burgess

Mark is responsible for the execution of Columbia Threadneedle’s “Gender Action Plan,” aiming to drive improvement in gender balance across the business through a combination of advocacy, training and development, new recruitment policies and flexible working guidelines and support. This has resulted in 45% of the company board, 42% of the regional executive committee and 20% of senior management being women.

Mark’s team has also launched an inclusive women’s network, “Aloud.” One of the main initiatives that Mark has spearheaded with the network is the formation of mentoring circles which allow junior/mid-level women to reverse-mentor senior leaders within the organisation whilst also being mentored themselves.

Mark is proud that Columbia Threadneedle Investments EMEA became the first European asset manager to disclose gender data in 2015 and acted as a founding signatory of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.

Externally, Mark is a trustee of Access Sport, a charity which aims to harness the proven power of sport to tackle social exclusion, inactivity and obesity, and is Chairman of LIFEbeat, which aims to improve the emotional wellbeing of young people.

33) Michael Kent - Linklaters LLP partner

Linklaters' Michael Kent

Michael was the executive committee’s gender champion for the last three years, during which time he acted as a role model to partners and lawyers across the firm. He took responsibility for ensuring that the firm and the division for which he was responsible met its target of electing 30% new female partners over the past two years.

Michael launched and led the firm’s HeForShe group, organising events, campaigns and internal efforts to promote the group to the largest audience possible, resulting in 212 male staff signing up in the UK alone.

For International Women’s Day, Michael canvassed the firm’s most senior male partners across the globe to get their thoughts on the HeForShe programme and secured their commitment to press for progress in gender equality as HeForShe supporters. He also sponsored Stepping Forward, the firm’s newest talent development programme for more junior female associates.

Externally, Michael has been a powerful industry voice speaking out on this topic across multiple high level fora exchanging views, experiences and best practice with other business leaders introducing gender related initiatives within their own organisations. Within the legal industry he has been a vocal champion for greater gender equality and opportunity, helping to lead discussions with other senior partners from law firms across the City. He is a frequent and committed mentor, keynote speaker and industry champion for diversity.

34) Stephen Mercer - Deloitte MCS Ltd UK technology consulting lead partner

Deloitte's Stephen Mercer

As leader of the Deloitte technology consulting practice, Stephen has promoted and created a respectful and inclusive culture which allows everyone to flourish. Over the last 18 months, he has sponsored and championed a “Respect and Inclusion” programme within technology consulting, aligned to Deloitte’s firm-wide respect and inclusion agenda.

Related initiatives have included Stephen setting performance goals and gender diversity targets for his leadership team, and ensuring all leadership team members also mentor women in their teams, particularly at the manager and senior manager grades where there is most leakage of female talent.

He has created improved gender balance for visible leadership roles across the technology practice and challenged the recruitment team to make sure there are a diverse range of candidates applying for the roles and under his leadership. Stephen also sponsored personal brand training for Deloitte Women in Technology members as well as a number of female Women in Technology conferences.

Externally, Stephen was delighted to be able to speak and present at the WeAreTechWomen awards earlier this year. He raises the topic of respect and inclusion with his clients and has championed the firm’s respect and inclusion framework for use on projects. Stephen has also championed and sponsored a number of the external initiatives that have been led by the Women in Technology network including the CoderDojo girls-only dojos which are helping to drive awareness and hope to increase the number of girls considering technology as a career in the future.

35) Ray Berg - Osborne Clarke UK managing partner

Osborne Clarke's Ray Berg

Ray has ensured that diversity and inclusion is a central pillar of Osborne Clarke’s 2020 business strategy and continues to be important for their emerging 2025 strategy.

Through diversity in recruitment, development and progression strategies, Osborne Clarke’s partner pay gap has dropped by 13% since last year and 43% of the executive board are now women.

Ray commissioned a review of the firm’s lawyer progression framework, resulting in a relaunch with critical changes to some senior roles and the promotion process, making them more attractive, attainable and sustainable for all the firm’s lawyers. The firm has established a women’s network, with a high response rate from both male and female partners who want to lead the network. Ray’s team launched a generous parental package and enabled agile and flexible working styles.

Externally, Ray was recently announced as an "Agent for Change" by Management Today and he is a member of the 30% Club. Last year, he participated in the Dads4Daughters campaign, which brings together fathers and their daughters to discuss key issues faced by contemporary working women. He is a trustee of the Social Mobility Business Partnership, and is also involved in supporting Bristol’s SteppingUp Programme, which aims to encourage more people from BAME backgrounds into senior leadership roles across Bristol.

36) Rod Flavell - FDM Group chief executive

FDM Group's Rod Flavell

Rod has ensured that inclusivity is engrained into FDM’s corporate values. The company embraces the differences that make them stronger as one and Rod has always focused on instilling a culture of acceptance that fosters innovation from the day he founded FDM.

With 80+ nationalities and cultures working together today and a healthy pipeline of senior female management, FDM is leading by example. FDM regularly hosts panel discussions, thought leadership sessions, breakfast events and networking sessions for women, and Rod supports and participates in these events, alongside mentoring several women throughout the business.

FDM has almost 50% women on the management team and 30% women globally, with a 0% median pay gap for the last two years, as well as being ranked first in the Women on Boards and Leadership rankings in the tech industry.

FDM has a robust partnership with Everywoman and hosts the FDM Everywoman in Tech Awards on an annual basis. These awards exist to recognise, reward and celebrate the achievements of women at all levels in tech. FDM welcomes girls (largely from disadvantaged schools) into centres around the world every year to showcase what a career in tech could look like for them in the future. Rod regularly advocates for women’s inclusion through external media, making public statements in the Telegraph, City AM, Management Today and European CEO amongst other media outlets.

37) Colin Passmore - Simmons & Simmons LLP senior partner

Simmons & Simmons' Colin Passmore

During his tenure as senior partner, Colin has ensured that improving gender diversity is a key business priority, leading the firm to greater positive action to progress more women through to partnership and into senior management positions.

Under Colin’s leadership the percentage of female partners has increased from 12% to 22%, and the firm has experienced its second consecutive year of 40% plus internal partner promotions for women.

Colin sponsors two female managing associates in their route to partnership, and chairs quarterly gender balance meetings with the firm’s gender balance partner lead, steering committee and the co-chairs of the firm’s women’s Network, The Number One Club.

Externally, in June, Colin spoke on the panel of a Women’s Business Alliance event at Morgan Stanley to mark the first 100 years of female solicitors in the UK, where he discussed the steps that Simmons & Simmons have taken towards increasing gender diversity. He has also been involved in a charity called Sport Gives Back, the brainchild of a former UK athlete Connie Henry, aiming encourage social mobility through sport.

38) Dave Brittain - Amazon Business UK leader

Amazon's Dave Brittain

Dave has made a hugely positive impact on boosting diversity across Amazon through his work leading the policy workstream for Women@Amazon, one of Amazon’s employee affinity groups. In this role, he works closely with Women@ members and HR to develop policies and workplace practices that are applied, not only in the UK, but across Europe.

He was a key driver of Amazon’s flexible working guidelines, providing informal guidance to help managers and employees more effectively use informal and occasional flexible working. The guidelines were launched on International Women’s Day in 2016, initially in Amazon’s London corporate office. Since then however, they now apply across five EU countries.

Dave is also passionate about mentoring women at all levels of the business, currently mentoring four women, two of whom have subsequently been promoted to senior management positions.

He also speaks frequently at Amazon events, championing diversity across the business and gathering feedback from female employees which he then feeds back for the consideration of the policy working group. Most recently he spoke at the Women@ Annual Summit and the Amazon UK Graduate/MBA All Hands meetings to talk about how Women@ and the company are working to ensure a great and diverse workplace for employees.

39) José Eduardo Queiroz - Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados managing partner

Mattos Filho's José Eduardo Queiroz

Since becoming a managing partner at Mattos Filho in 2015, José Eduardo has worked hard to promote gender equality.

His first initiative was the women’s programme, in which he shared practices from other law firms abroad with a group of women partners and encouraged them to create an affinity group, now called 4Women. Following concentrated research into understanding women’s perception of Mattos Filho’s workplace, José Eduardo and 4Women built a plan of action which is now being implemented.

Under José Eduardo’s leadership, Mattos Filho have become supporters of the UN’s HeForShe movement, and José Eduardo has signed the CEO’s Declaration in Support of the Women's Empowerment Principles. More recently, José Eduardo and his team are developing the “Building Together” initiative within 4Women to consider men’s opinions on how to build and improve initiatives for gender equality in the firm.

Additionally, José Eduardo introduced unconscious bias training for all partners and, in partnership with KPMG, introduced non-harassment training for all Mattos Filho employees. Externally, José Eduardo is very active in sharing his experiences and possible strategies with clients and NPOs.

40) Gavin Bounds - Fujitsu EMEIA chief operating officer

Fujitsu's Gavin Bounds

Following his analysis of some unfavourable data regarding gender balance, Gavin became the new chair of the diversity and inclusion (D&I) council, creating a gender action plan which is unequivocal in its approach and clearly aligned to the business strategy.

It is a personal challenge for Gavin to eradicate the gender pay gap in the next three years. Gavin’s hard work has contributed to drastic improvements in gender diversity throughout the region. Gavin has made monthly calls on progress, challenging the under-representation of women at higher levels. He is taking decisive action to address gender parity in recruitment, demanding and enabling balanced shortlists and bias-free processes.

Beyond business, Gavin has given a personal commitment not to appear on external all male panels. He promotes STEM subjects for girls in schools and has published several articles on LinkedIn and external blog pages outlining his views on targets and tokenism. He is determined to create an attraction and retention culture so women can thrive.

He coaches a phenomenal disabled woman, Kate Nash OBE, to grow her business @PurpleSpace which is creating employee networks; promotes International Women’s Day using #SheInspiresMe asking LBT+ women to share inspirational quotes; and regularly speak out on women’s equality. Amongst his many efforts to support D&I, Gavin also supported a trans woman manager, featuring as a values champion in a video about inclusivity, where she highlighted the importance of colleague-support through her transition.