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22 May 2014

Glencore Xstrata to appoint first female director

Glencore Xstrata intends to appoint a female board member by the end of the year, an shake its reputation for being the only FTSE 100 company with male-only directors.

“Glencore values and promotes diversity across its business. The appointment of a female board member would be a key sign of that commitment to this area. It's an important priority of the board to appoint a female director before the end of this year,” said the firm's new chairman, former BP boss Tony Hayward who was named for the role earlier this month.

This comes after sharp criticism from Business Secretary Vince Cable, who said “the vast majority of Britain's top companies have got the message that a diverse top management team is good for business – it is simply not credible that one company cannot find any suitable women.”

“The company has had over three years to address this issue. It has been saying for over a year that they were in the process of appointing a woman to the board, and I specifically met the chief executive to discuss its performance on this issue. It has consistently failed to act.”

The London-based fund adviser Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) has also criticised the announcement. “If Glencore were to appoint a single woman on the board by the end of the year, that would still leave them as the laggard of the FTSE 100. The question of diversity has gone past one representative on the board,” a PIRC spokesperson said.

“Glencore should foreshadow to the market now what the 2015 targets are for board diversity, and they need to get a bit of a hurry up.”

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Stephanie Bream

Wonder Woman is fictional Glencore…

Jay Stender

In Wyoming – surface coal mining and uranium there are many capable and successful women in management, production, and environmental management

J. "Alec" Gimurtu

Look at the composition of the board of directors for Glencore in terms of their executive experience in resources and international finance. In their defense, there probably are not a long list of candidates that have similar backgrounds that are female and are willing to sign on. Before you attack my statement, provide a few examples of specific people who would fit in with that group.

Enrique Woll

Where would duties be fulfilled?

Susan Lawson

Maybe the “suitable woman” isn’t interested or putting her hand up because she wants to be considered only for her skills and experience, not because she is a woman.

Allison Golsby
Patricia Lenkov, who chairs the executive search practice at N2growth, recently spoke at the Global Women’s Leadership Summit. Patricia’s top 10 reasons why diversity is good for the boardroom: 1. It reflects the real world – something every company should be sensitive to. 2. Healthy debate can lead to better decisions. 3. Divergent backgrounds mean tackling the same idea in differing ways. 4. Great ideas come from disruption of the status quo. 5. Your clients and customers are diverse. 6. This can make your company knowledgeable and sensitive to a wider variety of groups. 7. Counsel from a variety of… Read more »
Neville Roberts

Such clever commentators. Ivan Glasenberg is a brilliant guy and so are the majority of his team. He is certainly smart enough to see the advantage of having women in his team. Chauvinism is not one of the reasons they are not there. I have known a few really good female mining engineers but the percentage of women in that career is very small. Be reasonable, sweat and dust are not at the forefront of a woman’s mind when choosing a career. Business women? Yes that is another story.

Luminita Muresan

Honestly, I do not believe in quotas and IMHO, no company should suffer due to corporate dogma. However, the fact that Glencore hasn’t found a suitable candidate for their Board can also be linked to the recruiting criteria, the recruiting process, and to the recruiters themselves, which summarized could be giving the right attention to the task.

I am sure, Glencore will find the right person for the right job.


Molebogeng Mazibuko

Resistance to change. To be globally competitive change is imperative and there are a lot of women that are wiling to sweat to ensure that a company is beyond profitable.

Our big business society problem is boards and decision making teams that lack diversity in their composition thus for now we are steered by traditionalists that do not realize that transformation is key.

Antonio Garcia Konieczny

Again, choosing just for the sake of “diversity” is not wise. As an example, ask Mr. McCain about his Vice President choice to run for office a few years ago.

Amir Farazmand

Jim, in that case it shouldn’t be hard to find one at all. What your are saying means there should be plenty of options.

Emiliano Guerrero

Go Vicky go for them!

Beverly Zwahlen

I agree with all of the comments regarding not choosing a candidate for the sake of diversity. There are however, many women who joined the mining industry 30-35 years ago who should be considered. Women bring different perspectives to the mining business that, when considered, will improve the safety, environmental and financial success. Having said that, while is it helpful to have mining experience for a board position at Glencore, it is not necessary. Also, retirees are great candidates as they have the time and it is not a full time position.

Tim Elliott
“No suitable women” sounds great for Xstrada and terrible for women. But Xstrada never said that. They just have no women on the board. You can simply re-word it “Glencore Xstrada fails to attract female board member”. The reason they have no women on their board is unknown. Female board members have fought 30-35 years on an uneven playing field, which has now been levelled. If they find themselves in high demand then I think that is fantastic, and well earned. But for Xstrada it is a terrible look. Forget quotas, those are for grads. I bet if they hire… Read more »
Graham Nickerson
A recent study (done in Canada) reached the conclusion that there are still biases against women in the business and financial sectors in terms of female executives and the pay-scale for females compared to their male colleges. I cannot find the recent story but here is a related story from around the same time related to several high profile women being forced out of executive positions: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2013/07/29/hitting-the-glass-ceiling-for-female-executives-sherry-cooper/ As a non-Caucasian geologist of an age where in my lifetime it was not advised to waste my time even going to university to some feeling of social equality. My going through the… Read more »
Duduzile Schalk

mh…are you guys looking at the right places?

Do you have a story to share?