Mixed Progress on FTSE 350 Board Diversity

FTSE 350 firms are appointing more women than ever to their boards, but are making slower progress recruiting directors from ethnic minority backgrounds, with economic uncertainty resulting in few appointments overall. Executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles’ latest annual Board Monitor UK report found that 58% of FTSE 350 board seats filled in 2022 went to women, up from 54%. Sixty-two percent of firms have appointed at least one woman in one of the four positions of influence required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): CEO, CFO, chair, or senior independent director. An average of 41% of FTSE 350 seats are held by women, as of January 2023, with 55% of companies having reached the 40% quota set by the FCA. The report also found that 24% of board appointments last year went to directors from ethnic minorities, up from 22% in 2021. According to the Parker Review, while 96% of FTSE 100 companies are already meeting the FCA’s target of at least one non-white board member, only 66% of FTSE 250 do so. The report said “an unprecedented backdrop” of economic uncertainty had led to a 23% fall in the number of appointments made by FTSE 350 firms in 2022, as well as a marked preference for experienced but sitting directors.


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