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IoD steps up efforts to build pipeline of women executives

29 Jul 2015

Business group partners with Women’s Executive Network to support UK launch

In support of its goal of increasing the number of women in senior executive positions at British companies, the Institute of Directors announces today that it is partnering with the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) to support its UK launch. Founded in Canada in 1997, WXN’s mission is to provide development and networking opportunities aimed at helping women to achieve and retain leadership positions.

Large UK firms have made progress in appointing women directors, recently hitting the 25% target of female representation on FTSE 100 boards. However, the appointments have largely been to non-executive roles, and there are still only five female chief executives.

The IoD believes that the only sustainable solution is to build a pipeline of executives, which picks talented women out at an early stage in their career and propels them up to the very top. The Institute’s involvement with WXN will complement its existing efforts, including its annual Women in Business conference, which this year features speakers such as Margaret Mountford giving their insights on the challenges and successes they have experienced in business.  

The expertise of WXN will be invaluable to the IoD as it looks to enable women to reach for senior executive positions, and help its members further their careers.

Lady Barbara Judge, who was appointed as the IoD’s first female chairman earlier this year, said:

“I am delighted that the IoD is partnering with WXN as they seek to bring their substantial experience of helping women to develop as leaders to the UK. Enabling more women to take up senior executive positions is one of my primary goals as IoD Chairman, a task which will be aided by this collaboration.”

On 12 October WXN will host Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail, as the keynote speaker at an event at the Institute of Directors in London. The first of four events in this series, it will provide a view on the latest in global leadership trends and current issues facing female—and male—leaders.

The Women's Executive Network (WXN)

WXN works with 100+ organisations internationally to support the advancement of women into senior management and executive roles.  In London, the IoD joins significant corporate partners including the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and media partner The Guardian: Women in Leadership. WXN is proud to be working in collaboration with the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The organisation has secured an impressive line-up of advisory board members: Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA; Lady Barbara Judge CBE, Chairman, Institute of Directors; Harry Samuel CEO, RBC Investor & Treasury Services and Chairman, European Executive Committee; Susan Vinnicombe OBE, Professor of Women and Leadership, Cranfield University School of Management and Director, International Centre for Women Leaders; Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, British Solicitor and former Lord Mayor of London.

WXN’s sister organisation, the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC), is the leading Canadian organisation advancing diversity on Canada’s boards.  The CBDC has helped Canadian board diversity reach 20.1% on TSX60 boards and 17.1% FP500 boards. WXN complements the efforts of the 30% Club by growing and supporting the pipeline of high potential professional women to reshape diversity in the boardroom and at the executive level.


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