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Odgers Berndtson reaches gender parity in FTSE 350 board appointments

Odgers Berndtson has disclosed that half of its FTSE 350 board assignments in the past year led to a woman being appointed, with 70% taking their first FTSE 350 board role.

This reinforces the firm’s position in the top tier of UK executive search firms accredited under the Enhanced Code of Conduct in the latest Hampton-Alexander review. The Enhanced Code, set in place by the government, acknowledges firms appointing more women than most to British boards and working hard to change the gender dynamic at the top of UK business.

Susanne Thorning-Lund, partner in the chair and NED practice at Odgers Berndtson, said, “We’re certainly now seeing more women coming through to senior levels and progressing to board level.

“We welcome the increased focus at the level just below the board, because this encourages companies to retain and develop their most talented senior women, and we work closely with clients to help with this.”

In its most recent guidance on board effectiveness, The Financial Reporting Council encouraged chairs to leverage diversity in setting a purposeful culture, future proofing strategy, taking effective decisions and delivering dynamic governance. Odgers Berndtson works with clients to appraise “how” they are operating to help optimise the impact the Board has on behalf of stakeholders.

The firm also audits all candidates – whether successful or not –on their experience of each search, using feedback to improve the support it provides. Many female candidates have said individual support is highly effective, and Odgers Berndtson has launched various initiatives to this end including an industry-wide mentoring initiative, launched with UK Hospitality last month, and a partnership with All-In, across the gaming sector, to track diversity.

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