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LGBT business network appoints new CEO

Bentley brings a wealth of experience from working with business leaders across the economy on issues ranging from energy and climate change and public service reform to employment and skills policy. While at the CBI, he was involved in helping set up the Equality and Human Rights Commission, establishing the CBI’s leadership programme to support diversity in the boardroom and setting the strategy to get more business women involved in the CBI. Bentley has also been a trustee and deputy chair of Stonewall, the LGB equality charity, for the past three years, has recently been advising the Science Council on its strategy for diversity and inclusion and has a PhD in race equality in the workplace.

Bentley joins OUTstanding to bolster the existing leadership team including Founder & Chair Suki Sandhu and Deputy CEO Joseph Galliano. Bentley’s main focus will be to create a step change in the conversation about LGBT diversity in business and amplify the voices of OUTstanding’s corporate and individual members about the benefits of authentic and diverse leadership.

There was real progress last year when Christopher Bailey became the first openly gay CEO of a FTSE 100 company and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, came out with the message that it makes sense to be open and authentic about who you are in the workplace. A new survey of LGBT senior executives showed that 85 per cent thought LGBT professionals are less productive pretending to be someone that they’re not. 

Bentley’s role also extends to heading up the new board practice offering for Audeliss where Suki Sandhu will continue to be the Founder & CEO. Audeliss specialises in finding diverse talent for executive level roles across many industries. The new Audeliss board practice will focus on applying diversity in all senses to the recruitment of non-executive directors and trustees and has already been tasked with applying its refreshing approach to the challenge of recruiting trustees for the board of The British Council.

Founder and chair, OUTstanding, Suki Sandhu commented, “Neil is the dream addition to the OUTstanding and Audeliss teams - we designed the dual-role specifically with his skill set and experience in mind. 

OUTstanding will provide Neil with the platform to champion LGBT diversity and inclusion in business leadership and Audeliss will provide the vehicle for him to proactively appoint diverse candidates into the boardroom for NED and trustee roles. Neil shares our values and has a strong belief in our mission.  

It is time for a disruptive and game-changing proposition to radically improve diversity in the highest echelons of the business world and this dual-role for Neil allows us to do this. I cannot emphasise enough how excited I am for his arrival. Together, we are going to make a real impact on the boardroom.”

Neil Bentley said, “This dual-role allows me to turn my commitment to inclusive leadership into tangible change for the better. I want to help more business leaders create an environment where LGBT executives can succeed and improve boardroom diversity in all senses, for everyone’s benefit. 

Responsible business leaders understand they need to develop, attract and retain the very best leaders, from a range of backgrounds with differing experiences, to help boost competitiveness, innovation and productivity. And now, more than ever, inclusive leadership plays a vital role in attracting talented young people, who increasingly want to work for companies which have economic and social purpose, which share their values and where they can find positive role models.

It is, of course, the responsibility of businesses to be inclusive, but government also has an important role to play. Only by companies and individuals, who actively champion diversity in all its forms, standing shoulder to shoulder, can all employees reach their full potential and contribute to sustainable economic growth.”

About OUTstanding

OUTstanding is an executive level network for LGBT business people and their allies, providing them with truly peer-to-peer professional and social connections as well as mentoring, research and role modelling interventions. It was founded as a social enterprise by Suki Sandhu in June 2013 and exists to drive change in the business world by broadening the boardroom diversity debate beyond gender or race to include LGBT issues. Corporate members include BP, Barclays, BT, EY and Google, American Express and BAE Systems. 

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About Audeliss

Audeliss specialise in recruiting executive level roles (both permanent and interim) across a number of areas including: Finance, Marketing, HR, Technology, Procurement and Change.

Audeliss provide collaborative, personalised and innovative solutions to recruitment challenges 

Audeliss is committed to diversity in all its forms and since trading in 2011, 59 per cent of their appointments have been diverse candidates

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