Progress accelerates for women in US boardrooms
Of the 339 new directors appointed in Fortune 500 boardrooms in 2014, 99 were women, representing 29.2% of the total. That compares with 25.9% in 2013 and 22.8% in 2012. The Heidrick & Struggles Board Monitor projects that women will account for 50% of new board directors in the Fortune 500 in the United States for the first time in 2024.
"Companies are increasingly focused on appointing more women directors - recognizing that better governance results when diverse points of view are reflected in the boardroom," said Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles' Board Practice in North America.
"One of the biggest obstacles to diversifying the boardroom has been the notion that the ideal director must have CEO experience," Gwin said. Only slightly more than 5% of CEOs in the Fortune 1000 are women. "Boards are more open to candidates with different leadership profiles, experiences and backgrounds. This shift will lead to greater diversity of thinking and help boards benefit from wider-ranging strategic insights," she said.
The latest survey data indicates boards will continue to seek directors from both genders who bring varied experience and perspectives to bear on today's — and tomorrow's — complex strategic challenges.