Firm attacked over all-male board

Baroness Northover

A FTSE 100 company with no women on its board has been attacked as "outdated" by a Government spokesman in the House of Lords.

Baroness Northover, speaking for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, hit out at engineering group Melrose as she faced calls from peers for more action to boost the number of women in boardrooms.
"One of the remaining FTSE 100 companies that still has an all-male board, Melrose, says it is 'a leading British-based investment company specialising in the acquisition of and performance improvement of underperforming businesses'.

"With no women on its board, how is it to ensure that its companies are geared to the 21st century if it is so outdated in its own approach?"
For the Opposition, Baroness Thornton said research showed progress in the past six months in increasing the number of non-executive directors in FTSE 100 companies had "plateaued".

She demanded: "What are the Government going to do next? It seems they have got the low-hanging fruit on this issue.

"If the Government has set its face against quotas, what do you suggest Melrose are going to do about the abysmal lack of gender diversity, of ageism and ethnic diversity in the country's boardrooms?"

Lady Northover agreed that progress needed to continue.

"There was an indication of plateauing, it now seems to be improving again," she said.

"Business needs to show it is making progress so that the Government can say that no quotas are needed, but they are there as a backstop." for Business Innovation and Skills)

© 2013 Press Association
Read Full Story