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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