London: Good to see PwC's Senior Partner, Ian Powell, joining the 30% Club. With satisfying symmetry — he is the 30th Chairman to become a member.
The Club exists to get more women into UK boardrooms without asking them to pour the coffee, and to correct the miserable gender imbalance at the top of British corporate life. It was founded a year ago by Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management, and it is led by a heavy-weight female steering committee. Its work was endorsed only last week by UK Prime Minister David Cameron (note to Dave — 30% women in Cabinet too perhaps?).
What is not so encouraging is who makes up the other 30 "Chairmen". The club's membership embodies the very problem it sets out to correct.
Guess how many of the "Chairmen" are women? 30% — ten? Sadly, no. Anita Frew of Victrex, the polymer manufacturer, is the SOLE woman to join. There are four leaders of professional services firms — Powell joins his peers, David Cruickshank (Deloitte), Steve Varley (E&Y), John Griffiths-Jones (KPMG). There are six Sirs. There are as many Lords of the Realm as women.
So — way to go 30% Club.
And perhaps a little political correctness would help. Get rid of the "Chairmen" altogether — how about pushing the gender neutral office of Chair?