Mike Buchanan’s written submissions to House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries in 2012, and a remarkable admission by Professor Susan Vinnicombe

In 2012, the year before the launch of J4MB, I sent written submissions to a House of Commons inquiry, ‘Women in the Workplace’ – here (35 pages) – and a House of Lords inquiry, ‘Women on Boards’, here (3 pages).

Susan Vinnicombe, a British ‘professor’, has been for many years the leading academic proponent of ‘more women on boards’ in the world. She made a remarkable admission to the same House of Lords inquiry, when giving oral evidence. Her exchange with Lord Fearn (I’ve put in bold text, the most relevant section):

Lord Fearn: Is there a strong business case for improving the gender diversity of boards? If so, does it follow that there is also a strong business case for increased gender diversity on boards across the EU?

Professor Susan Vinnicombe: Yes. We believe that there is a very strong, compelling and comprehensive business case for gender diversity on boards, and it is a case which stands not only in the UK but across the EU and indeed globally. It sits on several broad platforms.

One is talent management. In all the developing countries of the world, 60% of the graduates are now women. We have a tremendous number of women coming in at graduate level to our big corporates. So the fact that we are seeing so few women at the top on our corporate boards is a sheer waste of talent. Talent management would be our first point concerning the business case.

Secondly, if corporates are to serve their markets well, it just makes sense that they need to be able to represent those markets. In many of the markets, women are the consumers, so it makes very good business sense to have women on the corporate boards of those companies.

Thirdly, there has been quite a push in the past – indeed, we ourselves have engaged in such research – to look at the relationship between having women on corporate boards and financial performance. We do not subscribe to this research. We have shared it with chairmen and they do not think that it makes sense. We agree that it does not make sense. You cannot correlate two or three women on a massive corporate board with a return on investment, return on equity, turnover or profits. We have dropped such research in the past five years and I am pleased to say that Catalyst, which claims to have done a ground-breaking study on this in the US, officially dropped this line of argument last September.

However, there are broader, non-financial performance indicators, such as corporate social responsibility, employee involvement, innovation, philanthropy and good communications, which have been seen to be connected to companies that have women on their boards.

The original blog piece on Susan Vinnicombe’s admission is here.

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Campaign for Merit in Business – let’s get political

[Updated 28 February 2013]

The Electoral Commission has just registered our political party, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). More on this later in this post.

Campaign for Merit in Business, which was launched early in 2012, has made a remarkable impact in a relatively short time. We’ve proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the ‘glass ceiling’ is a baseless conspiracy theory. Through exposing as fantasies, lies, delusions and myths, the arguments which said that increasing gender diversity in the boardroom (‘GDITB’) will improve corporate financial performance, we’ve destroyed the long-vaunted ‘business case’ for GDITB. We continue to publicise five longitudinal studies, all of which show that GDITB leads to declines in corporate financial performance. What else would we expect when businesses aren’t free to select the best people for their boards, regardless of gender? Proponents are left with little other than misrepresenting correlation as causation in pursuit of their social engineering programmes.

The Conservative-led coalition no longer challenges our assertion that the impact of GDITB on UK plc will inevitably be a negative one. And yet it continues to actively pursue GDITB. DBIS continues to refuse to have a minister meet with us. What might explain this extraordinary state of affairs? We believe there are a number of strands in the answer:

1. David Cameron has an exaggerated fear of the ‘women’s vote’. He showed his feminist-friendly credentials soon after coming to power in 2010 by appointing the Labour peer Lord Davies of Abersoch to report not on whether to give effect to GDITB, but on how to do so. Indeed he showed those credentials in the autumn of 2009, when he announced he was setting up some all-women prospective parliamentary candidate (‘PPC’) shortlists. I’d once worked for the party at their London HQ (2006-8) but resigned my party membership in the autumn of 2009 when David Cameron announced his willingness to introduce all-women PPC shortlists for the forthcoming general election. I was later informed, by a senior officer in the party, that I was far from alone in having done so.

2. The leading minister at DBIS, the Lib Dem MP Vince Cable, holds extreme left-wing views, and is on record as saying that if he were Prime Minister, 50% of his cabinet would be women. He has publicly used – in his speeches and writings – utterly discredited research ‘evidence’ in support of GDITB.

3. The CBI, which should be defending its members’ rights to appoint directors as they see fit, is a part of the problem. For some years it’s actively promoted GDITB. Its current President, Sir Roger Carr (chairman of Centrica) is on record as stating that while he doesn’t personally believe GDITB improves corporate financial performance, he thinks it improves meeting ‘atmospherics’.

4. GDITB is being pursued vigorously because FTSE100 companies are under threat of legislated quotas (Davies Report – 2011) if they don’t ‘voluntarily’ achieve 25% female representation on their boards by 2015. This has resulted in a more than fourfold increase in FTSE100 female director appointments, from 12% of new appointments before the quotas threat (2010) to 55% (2012). Virtually all of the new female appointments have been as NEDs, an indicator of how shallow the available pool of qualified women is compared with the available pool of qualified men.

5. For some years government inquiries into such matters, while seeming to be open, have been deeply flawed. The most obvious recent example was the 2012 House of Lords inquiry into ‘Women on Boards’ which heard only from witnesses in support of GDITB. Many were professionally involved in the initiative. The level of witness challenging by the peers, including the Conservatives, was embarrassing to watch. In our written evidence to the inquiry we included details of four longitudinal studies which show that GDITB harms corporate performance. The final inquiry report explicitly rejected the idea that GDITB can lead to declines in corporate performance, without explaining why. We wrote to the inquiry’s chairwoman, Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, asking for an explanation, and didn’t receive one.

6. The House of Commons inquiry into ‘Women in the Workplace’, to which we gave oral evidence, is still ongoing, and we’re hopeful of more attention being given to our evidence than was the case with the House of Lords inquiry. But virtually all the witnesses before this inquiry, as with the House of Lords inquiry, have been pro-GDITB. We’ve made formal complaints about the misleading testimonies of a number of ‘witnesses’, one of whom amended her evidence as a result.

[New entry, 22 July 2013: The report of a House of Commons inquiry – ‘Women in the Workplace’ – was outrageous in its curt dismissal of our evidence base and arguments, and those of the renowned sociologist Catherine Hakim. The committee blindly accepted feminist arguments in relation to the genders in the workplace, while traditional Conservative perspectives on issues such as meritocracy were nowhere to be seen. Our critique of the report is here.]

The area of GDITB is but one of many areas in which governments actively discriminate for women and against men, because they’re fearful of the potential impact of ‘women’s votes’. Let’s consider just one example of that discrimination. Two-thirds of public sector workers are women, and the Equality Act (2010) effectively enables public sector bodies to discriminate on the grounds of gender in terms of recruitment and promotion, where one gender is ‘under-represented’. In practise only women in the sector are using the legislation, and only to advance women. Positive discrimination on gender grounds is illegal, so the government terms the phenomenon ‘positive action’. It amounts to exactly the same thing in practice.

Men have signally failed to co-operate effectively to defend ‘men’s human rights’ over many years, but this is changing. Politicians of all parties have left us with no choice. We’ve taken the only logical step. We’ve formed a political party to challenge the government in numerous policy areas – including GDITB – where there’s relentless special treatment for women at the expense of men. I shall lead the party.

On 30 December the leading broadcaster and Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts exclusively revealed our intention to launch the party.

The name of the party was revealed in an article published by the world’s most-visited and influential men’s human rights advocacy website, A Voice for Men.

If you believe in this cause, then please support us by making a donation or possibly by making a contribution in other ways. A qualified accountant has taken care of finances both before and since the party’s establishment. 100% of donations will be used to finance our campaigning work. Nobody associated with this campaign or our party derives any personal income from donations. Thank you for your interest in our work.

Mike Buchanan

mike@j4mb.org.uk

07967 026163

Equality campaigners ditch former McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook

A piece in today’s Times. The description of Catalyst as “equality campaigners” – it’s a radical feminist organization – is evidence of journalistic naivety and laziness, while Steve Easterbook’s presence on the board of the organization is evidence of the capitulation of “big business” to feminists. We’ve had things to say about Catalyst on this website, including their conflation of correlation with causation with respect to the financial impact of increasing gender diversity on boards.

The Times article:

The McDonald’s chief executive sacked over an affair with a junior colleague has been removed from the board of a women’s campaign group.

Steve Easterbrook, 52, who was ousted from his £1.2 million a year job as boss of the world’s largest fast food company, had been a “champion for change” for Catalyst, a not-for-profit organisation which seeks “to build workplaces that work for women”. [J4MB: Translation – workplaces where women are advanced ahead of men, regardless of their merit.]

Last night the group said it was “concerned” to learn about his consensual affair and all mention of his name was removed from its website.

However, Oxford University, where the British executive is a fellow and “corporate reputation expert”, said it would stand by him.

Mr Easterbrook’s departure from Catalyst emerged hours after he quit his role yesterday on the board of Walmart. The company, which owns the British supermarket chain Asda, said in a regulatory filing that his resignation “was not due to any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to its operations, policies or practices”.

Catalyst said: “We believe the decision to remove him as CEO [of McDonald’s] and from the board was the right thing to do and represents the company’s ongoing commitment to building respectful, safe and inclusive workplaces.

“Ensuring a workplace where everyone can thrive requires a long-term, intentional commitment from those in leadership — especially CEOs. Catalyst has a long-standing relationship with McDonald’s; we will continue to work with its leadership and companies across the globe to transform cultures and create real and lasting change.”

Mr Easterbrook, who is credited with having revived McDonald’s fortunes in recent years, was fired after a board meeting for breaching company rules over a relationship with an unnamed junior colleague.

It has emerged he could leave with as much as £40 million in pay and shares. He will receive about £500,000, half his basic pay, but it is thought he retains shares and options worth millions.

Oxford University said: “This will not affect his position as a visiting fellow.”

Last night the family of David Fairhurst, who was sacked as McDonald’s global human resources head on Monday, accused the company of forcing him out because he knew about Mr Easterbrook’s affair. One told the Daily Mail: “They are trying to make out that he knew what was going on, but he was in a very difficult position. That was his boss after all.”

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Masculine culture is damaging your business – here’s how and why you should change it

A huge steaming pile of bullshit from Business Matters, which bills itself as “UKs leading business magazine”. The piece is so utterly woeful that the writer isn’t named, presumably to stop her becoming an object of ridicule.

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If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.

An open letter to Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer: Why Dame Helena Morrissey is unfit to become the next Governor of the Bank of England

We’ve just posted this, along with the evidence that increasing gender diversity on boards leads to a decline in corporate performance.

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If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.

‘Men as Change Agents’ board meets for first time

Another day, another ill-considered ideologically-driven anti-business initiative intended to increase the number of women on corporate boards. I’ve archived the piece just published by Personnel Today, my comments – also archived – are “awaiting moderation”. I’m more likely to win a gold medal for pole vaulting at the next Olympics, than the comments be published.

One day the business community will wake up and realise the Empress has no clothes, but how much damage will have been done by then, and what will be the cost to business of unravelling the mess?

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If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.

Helena Morrissey, mother of nine children, whose husband is a Buddhist monk, is tipped to be the first female Governor of the Bank of England in its 325-year history

A piece in The Daily Mail, updated today. Wikipedia’s details on the career of Helena Morrissey:

Morrissey began her career at the New York and London bond desks at Schroders. Finding her career path blocked there, she moved to Newton Investment Management in the early 1990s as a fixed income fund manager.

Morrissey became Newton’s chief executive; as of 2015, it manages £47 billion of assets.

She is Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General Investment Management, which has over £1 trillion of assets under management (2019).

Morrissey has no more experience in banking than the vast majority of people reading this blog piece. So what, precisely, puts her in strong contention to become the next Governor of the Bank of England? Nothing, if you exclude ideologically-motivated reasons.

People familiar with this website will be aware of the longstanding pro-feminist bias of the Bank of England, including under the present Governor, Mark Carney. Morrissey was the founder of The 30% Club, an organization which has relentlessly implied that the observed correlation between boardroom gender diversity and financial performance indicates a causal link, a cynical lie to suggest there’s a business case for appointing more women on boards. In fact, as followers of this website know very well, the evidence from longitudinal studies all point in one direction – there’s a clear causal link between appointing more women on boards, and corporate financial DECLINE. If anything, the business case is to appoint fewer female directors, not more.

Our many blog pieces on Morrissey are here. C4MB was publicly challenging her as early as 2012 – an example here.

So, the next Governer of the Bank of England could be a lying feminist (but I repeat myself). What could possibly go wrong?

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An open invitation to Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor of The Times

I’ve been a subscriber to The Times for some years, despite the paper’s enthusiasm for spreading feminist narratives, no matter how clearly they’re based on lies. Philip Aldrick’s profile on The Times website:

Philip Aldrick is economics editor and an economics columnist for The Times, covering the daily news and writing two opinion pieces a week. He joined the paper in 2013 from The Daily Telegraph, where he held the same role. Prior to that he was banking editor at the Telegraph during the financial crisis, winning several awards including business and finance journalist of the year at the 2011 Press Awards. He was shortlisted again for his economics columns in the 2017 Press Awards.

@philaldrick

His article in today’s Times, which led to me writing an open letter inviting him to become the first mainstream media journalist in the world to tell the truth about the impact of increasing female representation on boards:

Business executives remain stubbornly male, pale and stale, despite progress on bringing women into the boardroom, governance experts have said.

Between 1996 and 2017, the share of women in FTSE 100 executive roles has risen from 1 per cent to only 3 per cent, according to ICSA: The Governance Institute. It analysed the boards of Britain’s top 100 listed companies for its report A View at the Top.

The slow progress on gender diversity in key decision-making roles has been masked by a big increase in non-executive positions. Female representation on FTSE 100 boards has risen from 4.1 per cent in 1996 to 28 per cent in 2017. The institute said that the findings showed “a lack of genuine diversity”.

Improving gender diversity on boards is one of the government’s core policy goals. In 2016 the Hampton- Alexander Review set a target that women should hold 33 per cent of board and senior leadership positions in the FTSE 350 by the end of 2020.

Figures released this month suggest that companies are on track to meet the challenge, with 32.1 per cent of FTSE 100 board positions occupied by women in November and 27.5 per cent for the FTSE 250. Only four of Britain’s 350 largest listed companies have no women board members.

Kelly Tolhurst, a business minister, said: “These figures show there are now more women than ever before at the top of UK business.”

However, the institute’s analysis suggests that far more effort is needed if advances are to last. Without more progress, “there will be little change in the C-Suite in coming years”, it said.

Unrepresentative boards may be doing shareholders a disservice. Studies have shown that companies with women on the board perform better. [J4MB emphasis.]

The institute is a 125-year-old body that works with regulators to champion high standards of governance. Its research was a follow-up review to similar analysis undertaken in 1998 by Elisabeth Marx, a leadership consultant.

It added that diversity was about more than gender balance. “While there has been progress in gender diversity at non-executive director level, boards remain more obviously male, as well as significantly whiter than the British population,” it said. “Directors are increasing in age, with little diversity in terms of educational or career background.”

The average age of a FTSE 100 board director was 58.5 years in 2017, compared with 56 in 1996. A greater proportion came from a background of accountancy or finance — 49 per cent in 2017, up from 38 per cent in 1996 — and a quarter had qualifications from Oxbridge or Harvard University.

Sara Drake, head of the institute, said: “Given the rapidly changing expectations of organisations and their boards, diversity of thoughts and experience are an even more crucial component of board effectiveness than ever before.”

You can subscribe to The Times here.

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James Delingpole: “Study – Woke Gender Quotas on Company Boards Reduce Profitability by 12 Percent”

Enjoy. The study to which James Delingpole refers was published in The Leadership Quarterly three weeks ago – Women directors, firm performance, and firm risk: A causal perspective. The full Abstract:

Norway was the first of ten countries to legislate gender quotas for boards of publicly traded firms. There is considerable debate and mixed evidence concerning the implications of female board representation. In this paper, we explain the main sources of biases in the existing literature on the effects of women directors on firm performance and review methods to account for these biases. We address the endogeneity problem by using a difference-in-differences approach to study the effects of women directors on firm performance with specific consideration of the common trend assumption, and we explicitly distinguish between accounting-based (i.e., operating income divided by assets, return on assets) and market-based (i.e., market-to-book ratio and Tobin’s Q) performance measures in the Norwegian setting. The control group are firms from Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. We further extend the analysis of causal effects of women directors to firm risk. Our results imply a negative effect of mandated female representation on firm performance and on firm risk.

Published yesterday, Delingpole’s article has already attracted 391 comments. The most up-voted, from “Loose Cannon”:

If women’s executive abilities were being undervalued/underutilized, then enterprising female investors and leaders would arbitrage the discrepancy and create more female driven businesses. Same applies to the so-called gender pay gap which would signal employers to hire an all female workforce and reap the cost advantage.

Regular visitors to this website will be aware that in 2012 I gave evidence to House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries, confirming a causal link between increasing female representation on boards, and corporate financial decline. I’ve just added details of this new study to our short briefing paper with direct links to the studies confirming that causal link – here.

Along with Dr Catherine Hakim and Steve Moxon, I gave oral evidence to the House of Commons inquiry in 2012 – here (video, 56:50).

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If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.

We won’t let diversity tsars bully us, insist bosses at Daejan Holdings, Britain’s last big company with no women on the board

A piece in the latest edition of the Mail on Sunday. We salute the company’s board members.

If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.

Daejan Holdings, a FTSE250 property group, won’t appoint women ‘just for the sake of it’

At last, a major company to applaud on the issue of gender diversity in the boardroom. A piece by James Hurley in today’s Times:

Britain’s sole large listed company with no women on its board said has that it is not inclined to appoint a female director “just for the sake of it”.

Daejan Holdings, a FTSE 250 property group, is the only remaining business among Britain’s 350 largest quoted companies to have resisted pressure from the government’s Hampton-Alexander review body to stamp out all-male boardrooms.

The company, which owns buildings worth £2.4 billion, said that the Orthodox Jewish beliefs of its controlling family should be considered. Daejan was founded by Osias Freshwater, who came to the UK as a refugee from Nazi Germany. The group is led by his sons Benzion, 71, and Solomon, 63.

A strict interpretation of Orthodox religious law forbids or restricts physical contact with a member of the opposite sex except for one’s spouse and certain family members.

Daejan said that it had received a series of letters from the Hampton- Alexander Review. Denise Wilson, 60, the body’s chief executive, said: “Companies that have been slow to act are looking increasingly out of touch.” The Mail on Sunday first reported the row.

Mark Jenner, 67, company secretary, said that the religion of the Freshwater family was a “factor” in its all-male board. “This is not a legal obligation,” he said. “We’re not digging our heels in, saying we don’t like women.”

Mr Jenner said that while the brothers were not willing to be within touching distance of female colleagues, they were open to sharing their boardroom with women. He said that they should not be told “how to run their business”. “Next time there is a vacancy we will appoint on merit, whether it’s a man or a woman,” he said.

You can subscribe to The Times here.

If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.

Fearless Girl

Enjoy (9:18).

If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.