Now more Steves than women run UK’s elite firms

First we re­vealed fe­male FTSE chief ex­ec­u­tives are out­num­bered by Daves...

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Wil­liam Turvill CITY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

THE num­ber of women run­ning Bri­tain’s largest busi­nesses has fallen this year – mean­ing that chief ex­ec­u­tives are now more likely to be called Steve than be fe­male.

Last year, a Mail on Sun­day in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed there were more Daves lead­ing FTSE 100 com­pa­nies than women.

Yet de­spite pressure to pro­mote more fe­male bosses, the po­si­tion has wors­ened over the past 12 months, mean­ing Steves now out­num­ber women, too.

There are just six fe­male chief ex­ec­u­tives in the 100 firms, com­pared to seven men called Steve or Stephen and seven Daves or Davids.

They are also paid more than their fe­male counterparts. Our re­search found that the aver­age Dave was paid more than £6mil­lion last year, com­pared with £2.9 mil­lion for Steves and £2.7mil­lion for women.

Tory MP Nicky Mor­gan, who chairs the Trea­sury Se­lect Com­mit­tee, said: ‘It is very galling. I hope that chair­men are do­ing their best to en­sure that they get a re­ally good, di­verse field of can­di­dates to fill any gaps.’

Labour’s Rachel Reeves, chair­man of the Busi­ness Se­lect Com­mit­tee, said: ‘This is damn­ing of the slow pace of change in com­pany board­rooms. The gen­der pay gap needs to be closed and it’s clear that busi­nesses and Govern­ment still have a long way to go.’

Daves and women were ac­tu­ally level peg­ging un­til last week when the house­builder Per­sim­mon an­nounced that its chief ex­ec­u­tive, Jeff Fair­burn – the re­cip­i­ent of a con­tro­ver­sial £75mil­lion bonus – was be­ing tem­po­rar­ily re­placed by man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dave Jenk­in­son. The ap­point­ment meant Daves again over­took women.

Even in his less se­nior role, Mr Jenk­in­son made more money than all the FTSE 100’s women lead­ers put to­gether last year, taking home £20.4mil­lion thanks to the com­pany’s bonus scheme, com­pared to £16.3mil­lion for the six fe­male chiefs.

The num­ber of Steves and Daves this year has been swelled by the ap­point­ment of US banker David Sch­wim­mer to head the Lon­don Stock Ex­change in April. And soft­ware com­pany Mi­cro Fo­cus pro­moted its chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Stephen Mur­doch to the top job in March.

Soft­ware gi­ant Sage has re­placed one Steve with an­other, this month ap­point­ing fi­nance boss Steve Hare to re­place Stephen Kelly, who left dur­ing the sum­mer.

Mean­while the num­ber of women lead­ing elite firms dropped from seven to six when Moya Greene left Royal Mail this year, to be re­placed by Ger­man Rico Back.

Now shamed Per­sim­mon chief grabs £21 mil­lion MORE: Fi­nan­cial Mail, Page 89

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