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Jul 18, 2017

Stalling of female Fortune 500 appointments ‘frustrating’, says top US search consultant

In part two of IR Magazine’s video series with Jeff Sanders, we discuss the latest US gender diversity statistics

The percentage of total board appointments that went to women in the Fortune 500 fell by 2 percentage points last year, following continuous year-on-year growth since 2009, IR Magazine reported last month.

Just one woman was appointed to a Fortune 500 boardroom for every three men, according to the Heidrick & Struggles Board Monitor report. With large institutional investors like BlackRock and State Street openly discussing the value of a diverse boardroom, US public companies might ask themselves why their progress is stalling relative to other countries around them.

Speaking to IR Magazine in our video interview below, Jeffrey Sanders, vice chair and co-managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles’ board and CEO practice, says the results surprised him. ‘As we looked at the data [on female appointments], it was frustrating for us,’ he adds.

In this video, Sanders talks about how US public companies are looking to add diversity to their boardrooms, which sectors are performing better than others, and how the restrictions around the number of boards an executive can serve on can get in the way of building a diverse boardroom.

In part one of this video series, Sanders discusses the latest trends in board composition and how to balance boardroom experience with boardroom refreshment.

In part three, out next week, Sanders will talk about the uptick in ethnic and racially diverse board members in the Fortune 500. 

Ben Ashwell

Ben Ashwell was the editor at IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary , covering investor relations, governance, risk and compliance. Prior to this, he was the founder and editor of Executive Talent , the global quarterly magazine from the Association of...