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May 20, 2014

Glencore to name female member to board this year

Miner to abandon status as last all-male FTSE 100 board, Hayward says

Glencore Xstrata, the only company in the FTSE 100 with an all-male board of directors, is to appoint a female director, the chairman says.

Amid rising pressure from investors and interest groups, Tony Hayward told the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Switzerland that Glencore will appoint a woman to the board by the end of the year as a ‘key sign of commitment’ to board diversity.

‘Glencore values and promotes diversity across its business. The appointment of a female board member would be a key sign of that commitment to this area,’ Hayward told investors, according to Reuters. ‘It’s an important priority of the board to appoint a female director before the end of this year.’

Glencore has been the only FTSE 100 company with an all-male board since rival miner Antofagasta named a female director in March. The announcement comes as a UK government-commissioned study calls for greater diversity on corporate boards. The Davies Review, led by former Standard Chartered chairman Mervyn Davies, has recommended that companies aim for 25 percent female representation on their boards by 2015.

Investors including Aviva Investors, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and others had called on shareholders to vote against the re-election of Hayward, the former BP chairman, because of Glencore’s lack of action on increasing board diversity. Hayward was re-elected with 94 percent of the vote, while many of the other measures up for a vote received 98 percent approval.

A study released in March by the Cranfield University School of Management shows the percentage of women on boards of FTSE 100 companies is 20.7 percent and only 48 more female board members are needed to reach the Davies Review’s 25 percent goal. In the past year, 52 women were appointed to FTSE 100 boards, accounting for 27 percent of all appointments, the study shows.