Severn Trent will become the UK’s first blue-chip public company to have a female CEO, CFO and chairperson. However, there are still only nine female CEOs in the FTSE 100. None are women of colour.
Half of the FTSE 100 failed to meet the target of having a board made up of 40% or more women, according to the government-backed FTSE Women Leaders Review. More than 90% of those female directors are non-executive. Only 18 chairs are women.
Meanwhile, 85 companies on the FTSE 100 have executive teams that are 60% or more male. Two-thirds do not have a single woman in an executive director role. After Miles steps up, there will be just 20 female CFOs.
For true diversity, in every sense, companies must look beyond tokenism and viewing this as a tick-box exercise.
Accountants don’t often make history, but Helen Miles will later this year when she replaces James Bowling as chief financial officer at Severn Trent. Her appointment, makes the water company the first FTSE 100-listed business to have a woman in each of its top jobs: CEO, CFO and chairperson. Its board will be 70% female.