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Greater female presence on Irish boards
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04 Dec 2023 / business Print

Greater female presence on Irish boards

A report from consulting firm Spencer Stuart has shown that female representation on the boards of top Irish companies has risen to 37%.

The report, which covers the period from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2023, looks at governance practices in the ISEQ 20 index that covers the biggest 20 companies listed on the Euronext Dublin stock market.

The 37% figure, which compares with just over one-third in the 2022 report, exceeds a 33% target set by the Government for female representation on boards.

The analysis shows that all of the ISEQ 20 companies now have at least one female board member, and that more than two-thirds of all newly appointed durectors during the year were women.

Executive committees

Spencer Stuart adds, however, that the increased female presence on boards is being driven by non-executive directors.

“We continue to see low representation of women on executive committees,” the report states. Women hold only 13% of executive board positions, with two female CEOs and three female CFOs (chief financial officers).

Spencer Stuart notes, however, that there has been a significant increase in the percentage of women occupying the position of senior independent director on boards – up from 29% to 43%.

More non-Irish directors

The report shows that the rate of new directors joining boards has slowed – 11% of all directors (executive and non-executive) were appointed in the 12 months to 30 April 2023.

This was down from 16% last year, and was the lowest figure since the Spencer Stuart Ireland Board Index was established four years ago.

More than two-thirds of all non-executive director appointments during the year were female and 50% were of a nationality other than Irish.

One-third of all directors are non-Irish nationals – up from just over 30% a year earlier. All ISEQ 20 boards except for one had at least one director from outside Ireland.


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