Now more Steves than women run UK’s elite firms
First we revealed female FTSE chief executives are outnumbered by Daves...
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