My interview with Nick Ferrari (LBC)

It’s not every day I get a text message at 7.30 a.m. from a supporter, thank goodness. But I was pleased to receive one this morning from Marge, a stalwart supporter of C4MB who attended my IEA lecture last week. Marge admits to being a lifelong hypochondriac, and her nickname in her family is, ‘I can’t believe she’s not better’. I digress. The estimable Marge alerted me in her text to the fact that Nick Ferrari, one of my favourite hard-hitting journalist / broadcasters, was covering the topic of gender diversity in the boardroom this morning., in his LBC show. She even gave me a contact number at LBC (0845 6060 973), so I spoke to a pleasant lady, explained who I am and what C4MB does, and in due course was granted a few minutes of air time with Mr Ferrari. There was also a feminist journalist on the show – Barbara Want – who said that she disagreed with quotas, although she described herself as a feminist. All good stuff.

In the limited time I had available, I managed to get a few things across:

– the name of our campaign, and what we do, which has already led to a satisfying surge in the number of ‘hits’ on this blog

– the evidence that driving up the proportion of women on boards impairs corporate performance (the University of Michigan and Deutsche Bundesbank studies)

– the ongoing threat of legislated quotas if FTSE100 companies don’t ‘voluntarily’ reach 25% female representation on their boards by 2015 is driving corporate behaviour as it was intended to. 14% of FTSE100 board appointments in 2010 were women, and so far in 2012 it’s been 44% (all the 2012 appointments of women have been non-executive directors, all 18 executive director appointments have been men).

I missed the contribution of David Buik (or Buick?) of BGC Partners, but Marge tells me he too argued strongly against quotas for women on boards.

Is it just me, or is the tide starting to turn? Let me know what you think, by posting a comment. Thank you.

Finally, my warm thanks to Marge for this terrific lead. A wonderful example of opportunistic campaigning.

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