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Why Britain needs more Curries in the C-suite

Roisin Currie, CEO, Greggs  (Greggs )
Roisin Currie, CEO, Greggs (Greggs )

Chapeau to Greggs boss Roisin Currie who delivered a downturn defying trading update this morning that pressed all the right buttons for the City. On a roll you might say. Or perhaps shouldn’t.

Ms Currie has been in the post since May and appears to be doing a fine job for UK plc. But a report today claims billions of pounds a year are being lost because so few women, even in 2022, are making it into the hallowed but still male dominated C-suite.

The 7th annual Women Count report on FTSE 350 companies - the highest echelons of corporate Britain - details just how few women still control the executive levers of power.

It found that 90% of CEOs are men as well as three quarters of executive committee members at the marzipan level just below the full board.

Indeed one in ten executive committees still have no female representation. More than eight out of ten CFOs - the all important folk who control the purse-strings - are male.

Interestingly companies with female CEOs are four times more likely to appoint women executive directors onto their main board than companies with male CEOs. The proportion of female executives on the main board of a company with a female CEO is 63%, compared to 14% where the CEO is male.

The report goes on to argue that the lack of diversity among captains of industry could be costing 2.5% in GDP growth. The figure is not one that many City economists - again mostly men - would recognise, but the underlying point is valid.

The truth revealed by the report is that the dash for diversity in the boardroom has been overwhelmingly at non-executive level. When it comes to the jobs that matter, the roles responsible for the crucial decisions that determine whether a business prospers of flounders in tough times, it is still very much a man’s world.