I was impressed when I read the Entrepreneur.com article by Richard Branson who expressed his opinion that the world needs more women in the boardroom. Although the article was short, listed well-known statistics, and had limited information about Richard’s company specifically, it was encouraging to see someone as successful as Richard attaching his name to an important issue.
Curious about what Virgin Airlines was doing with this trendsetter at the helm, I went in search of proof that this was a man who put his money where his mouth is.
First stop, Virgin-Atlantic.com. When I look at the list of Directors, I’m pleased to find a woman’s profile immediately following that of the male CEO. A great start, I say to myself.
The sixth name is the woman who heads up Virgin Holidays and is referred to by Branson in his article. Tenth place goes to the woman in HR. No surprise there. Thirteenth position is Worldwide Sales and the final position on the senior team held by a woman.
So, three of the fourteen Directors are women; two-thirds of the way to the recommended thirty percent to make a significant financial impact on a company.
Then I go looking for the team at Virgin Money, which is the other female CEO Branson refers to in his article.
A five-person non-executive Board has zero women, and the Executive team of ten has 2 women, according to the uk.virginmoney.com website.
Virgin Holidays has two women on a three-person executive team.
So what’s the score? Virgin Airlines 3/14; Virgin Money 2/15; Virgin Holidays 2/3. In total, seven women among thirty-two executives and board members; 21.8%. While Branson’s group is certainly doing better than the average, they still have room for progress.
But then again, Branson admits that they “have much to do as an organization.”
Best of luck, Sir Richard. We’ll be watching.