16/06/2016 - 11:24

Board diversity improves, but some need to catch up

16/06/2016 - 11:24

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Women are being appointed to ASX200 boards at a faster rate than ever, but a number of major Western Australian companies remain without any female representation on their boards.

Board diversity improves, but some need to catch up
Tracey Horton sits on the board of several WA companies and organisations.

Women are being appointed to ASX200 boards at a faster rate than ever, but a number of major Western Australian companies remain without any female representation on their boards.

About 42 per cent of all directors appointed to ASX200 boards in 2016 to-date were women, a report by the Australian Institute of Company Directors has found; a dramatic increase from 5 per cent in calendar 2009.

“This means that 23.6 per cent of all directors of ASX200 companies were female at May 31, compared to 8.3 per cent in calendar 2009,” AICD said.

The institute has set a target for all ASX200 companies to have 30 per cent female directors by the end of 2008.

Medibank was the best performer as women, including chair Elizabeth Alexander, accounted for about 70 per cent of its board.

A further five companies have an even 50-50 split, including Mirvac Group, Woolworths and Boral, an achievement Woodside Petroleum chairman Michael Chaney has previously stated he hopes to achieve before his retirement.

Women currently represent 33 per cent of the Woodside board, with iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group also at that level. Wesfarmers, which  Mr Chaney also chairs, currently has 30 per cent female board members.

Programmed Maintenance Services and education provider Navitas both have about 43 per cent female directors, with the latter including prominent businesswoman Tracey Horton, who also sits on the board of Tourism WA and is chair of Presbyterian Ladies College.

“The solid progress this year gives us hope that Australia’s biggest companies have got the message that gender diversity is not just common sense, but also good business sense,” AICD managing director John Brogden said.

“In total, 53 ASX200 companies have reached our 30 per cent target.

“That’s a good start but the rate of growth in female appointments needs to continue if we are to have a realistic chance of achieving our goal within our stated time frame.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Austal, Monadelphous Group, Mineral Resources, Regis Resources, Independence Group, Northern Star Resources, QUBE Holdings, Evolution Mining and TPG Telecom (which acquired iiNet last year) are among those companies with no women on their boards.

“Companies who are lagging behind need to take action to catch up with their peers who are already well on the way to achieving the 30 per cent target,” Mr Brogden said.

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