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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