Balance in Business: Who leads? Who (still) cares? The Board Perspective

1.          Key dates

28th November 2022 – Portal and Application opens

28th January 2023 – Portal will close

30th January – xxx – Judging process in progress

9th May 2023 Awards Dinner and Celebration

 2.         How is the Data for the Award collected?

The Data submission process takes place through a secure online Portal which can be accessed via the Review’s website. The Portal is designed to gather company specific Leadership Gender Data regarding the number of men and women on both the Executive Committee and Direct Reports to the Executive Committee at a snap-shot reporting date of 31stOctober each year. 

This year’s Leadership Gender Data will need to be compiled as at 31 October 2022.

Employee Turnover Data

The online Portal also collects information on Employee Turnover by comparing the gender representation of a company from one year to the next. In addition to the Leadership Gender Data required, the number of leavers and the number of joiners by gender during the prior 12 month period are required to calculate the turnover.

This year’s Employee Turnover reporting period will be the 12 month period prior to 31 October 2022, i.e. 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022.

Board Gender Data

You will also be required to submit Board Gender Data on four key Board roles only via the online Portal. The four roles are the Chair of the Board, the Senior Independent Director/or Deputy Chair, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Financial Officer/Financial Director. 

No other data relating to the Board is required in this Portal submission. Any other required data relating to the composition of the Board will be collected by the FTSE Women Leaders Review team from BoardEx, and other publicly and /or statutory sources at the end of the 2022 calendar year.

Please note: Any Executive Director who is a member of the Board and also a member of the Executive Committee, needs to also be included via the online Portal submission, in the relevant Leadership Gender Data fields. This is likely to include the CEO and the Finance Director only, who most often sit on the Board and on the Executive Committee, but it may also include any other Executive Director that is also a member of the Board.

 3.          What type of information is collected via the Portal? 

There are two types of information, collected in this process, firstly the personal contact of details of the relevant employee acting as the Registered User for each company, and secondly the gender specific data i.e. the number of men and women that make up the Leadership team and the Board of each company:

The Registered User will be required to submit their personal contact details, such as their name, email address and telephone number. This data will not be published and will remain confidential to the parties of the INSEAD Balance and Business Award. Please read our latest Privacy Policy for further details on the use of the data.

The Leadership Gender Data and selected Board Gender Data that is required during the via the online form is set out below. This data will be published in the February 2023 report on an individual company basis, and in the aggregate for the relevant FTSE 350 Index.

4.          What data do I need to submit?

4.1 What is your definition of Executive Committee? 

We anticipate most companies will have an Executive Committee or similarly named organisational structure. For those companies that do not, it should be the nearest equivalent and senior-most executive or managerial governing body that sits below the board, this will often be chaired by the CEO or in the absence of this, the collective of employees who directly report to the CEO. This should exclude all administrative and support staff. From data gathered in previous years the average size of a FTSE 100 Executive Committee is 10 members. These are typically slightly smaller in FTSE 250 companies.

4.2 What is your definition of Direct Reports to the Executive Committee?

Direct Reports are employees in a direct reporting line to members of the Executive Committee or the nearest equivalent. This should exclude administrative and support staff. From data gathered last year, the average size of a FTSE 100 Direct Report population is 80 employees. These are typically slightly smaller in FTSE 250 companies.

4.3 What if the role of Chief Information Officer, General Counsel and / or Company Secretary doesn’t exist in the organisation or is outsourced to a third party company?

If there is no equivalent role in the organisation for one or all of these roles, then please select ‘No such role’ from the selection criteria on the form. If you are unsure please contact 

4.4 What if the role of Chair, Senior Independent Director, Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer / Finance Director doesn’t exist in the organisation?

If there is no equivalent role in the organisation for one or all of these roles, then there will be an option in the form to select ‘No such role’. If you are unsure please contact 

4.5 Members of our Executive Committee and/or their Direct Reports are based overseas, do I include them in our data submission?

Yes; we are capturing the management structure irrespective of where individuals are based. Any Executive Committee member based overseas are included, as are any of their Direct Reports (whilst ignoring any administrative or support staff).

5.         How do I get started?

The Portal will be open from 28th November 2022 for companies which are part of the FTSE 350 Index and the 50 Private Company cos.

The Portal will close on 28th January 2023.

To prepare for the Portal opening, you can familiarise yourself with the Leadership Gender Data that will be required as outlined in Questions 3 & 4 above or view the required data fields via the Log In process on the Portal.

6.         How do I use the Portal?

From 28th November 2022 you can follow the link to the Portal here which will take you to the portal Welcome page. 

Our Panellists

Beatrice Hamza Bassey

Experienced board member; Chair of Union Bank Nigeria; General Counsel and Board Member Atlas Amara

Beatrice Hamza Bassey is General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited; she is Chair of the Board of Directors at Union Bank Nigeria, and Chair of Risk and Compliance Committee at African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited.

In addition, Ms Hamza-Bassey is also a Member, Board of Trustees of Vornado Realty Trust, an Independent Board Member of IGT and a Member of Board Directors of Banque Populaire du Rwanda.

A lawyer of great repute with extensive experience in corporate governance and financial institutions, she is an authority in compliance and represents clients globally in compliance and anti-corruption matters.

She holds an LL.B in Law from University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, a BL in Law from the Nigerian Law School and an LL.M from Harvard Law School. She is a Fellow of the prestigious David Rockefeller Fellows Program of the Partnership for the City of New York.

Byron Loflin


Global Head of Board Engagement, Nasdaq Governance Solutions & Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence

Byron E. Loflin is Global Head of Board Engagement at Nasdaq where he leads the governance advisory team in providing a strategic, collaborative, and technology-based approach strengthening corporate governance effectiveness. The Nasdaq portfolio of governance solutions and products include board, CEO, and management evaluations, and streamlined Directors’ and Officers’ Questionnaire/pre-proxy disclosure processes and the award-winning Nasdaq Boardvantage portal.

Byron is the founder and former CEO of the Center for Board Excellence (CBE), now the Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence, after being acquired by Nasdaq in 2019. His experience and expertise are in best practices for boards of directors, specifically in the design and administration of board performance evaluations and governance strategy.

Helen Pitcher OBE

Experienced Chairman, Board member, Board facilitator and Coach

 

Helen Pitcher OBE (IDP-C 13Sep) is an experienced Chairman, Board member, Board facilitator and Coach. Working across the range of FTSE, Professional Service, Private Equity and Family firms, where she has led some of the biggest Board Evaluations. Helen is also a coach to many leading CEOs, Chairman and NED’s. Helen was awarded an OBE for services to Business in 2015.

In addition to her Advanced Boardroom Excellence role Helen holds a number of high-profile Board roles, Chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission; Non-Executive Director UB UK, C&C Group Plc, Chairman of their Remuneration Committee, member of the Nomination and ESG Committees. SID OneHealth Group Ltd., Chairman of the Remuneration and Nominations Committees. President of INSEAD Directors Network Board and Chairman of INSEAD Directors Club Limited. President of KidsOut (a National Children’s Charity) and sits on the Advisory Board for Leeds University Law Faculty.

Stanislav Shekshnia

Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD, co-director of Leading from the Chair

Dr. Stanislav Shekshnia is a Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD, co-director of Leading from the Chair and Scandinavian Executive Institute Executive Board development programmes. His research concentrates on leadership, leadership development and effective corporate governance at emerging markets and organisations. Stanislav is the author, co-author, and editor of 11 books, including Leading a Board (2019), CEO School (2018), Athletic CEOs (2018), and others.

The panellists shared their research and personal experiences on why Balance in Business is important, focusing on the facts that a balanced leadership team tends to deliver better financial outcomes and balance helps attract talent.

But if there is a consensus around the “why” – and some businesses are clearly achieving balance – why can’t we all get it right?

Female board chairs are very underrepresented: Stanislav shared his research showing that there are 1019 male chairs and only 65 female chairs in the EU countries studied (the only exception is in Sweden; where the government is often an important shareholder and explicitly promotes more women on boards). But the key blocking factor in general is CEO experience – female CEOs do not find it more difficult than men to become board chairs, but there are many fewer of them.

Beatrice herself did not take the traditional CEO route to board chair and shared her story as partner of a law firm before becoming general counsel and then a board member. She explained: ‘I joined the board and after winning the confidence of my fellow board members, […] they nominated and elected me as service board chair.’

Helen added that the skills for a Chair are not necessarily the skills of a CEO. Stanislav agreed, noting that: “this is one of the ways forward; we should look at people who have business acumen, which is very important for a board chair. But you don’t necessarily need to be CEO to develop business acumen.”

So, how do we make these changes?

The first event in the series – the CEO Perspective – highlighted the need for visible leadership, more flexible work patterns for women, and a culture shift with systematic adjustments.

At the board level, we need more creativity from nominations committees and head-hunters. Byron believes that gender parity would advance if more women became chairs of the nominating committee, as he has seen this as a direct driver both in the US and globally.

For Beatrice, it is crucial to be deliberate and to specifically ask for and monitor gender balance: “Only what gets measured – gets done!”

Stanislav agreed, adding that people who make nomination decisions should become more familiar with current research about what type of skills make Chairs effective. Women are arguably better than men at some of the soft skills (listening, framing questions, and providing feedback) that are needed to be a Chair.

Quotas are not the answer, boards and CEOs agree. As Ronan Dunne said, “bring in the conditions to allow women to be the success they deserve to be”.

We are heading in the right direction: Byron shared his experiences working with boards and CEOs, seeing a steady evolution of diversity in the boardroom as well as increased activity from investors taking action to require balance not only on boards but at all exco levels.

But there is still a lot of work to be done. Avivah Wittenberg-Cox reminded us that ‘you only get gender by design’, and we will only move beyond the talking when we hit a critical mass. For this we must get non-sympathisers to the table and convince them.

Having more visible role models at the top will bring change!

We are grateful to our invaluable sponsors, Dawn Capital, our Platinum Founding Partner; 20-first, our knowledge partner, Genpact and Chronus.

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