A Chair’s perspective
One of the reasons I was delighted to become Chair at Lloyds Banking Group was because of the Group’s strong sense of purpose and commitment to help build a more inclusive society.
I have a strong view that women are more likely to want to be part of an organisation if they see women at the top of that organisation. At the Crown Estate, all three appointments to the Board since I have been Chair have been women and I have seen the benefits that diversity brings.
When Lloyds Banking Group set a public goal in 2014 to increase the number of women in senior management to 40% by 2020, it was not entirely clear how that goal would be met. But setting an ambitious goal was important, both as a signal of commitment and intent, and because it provided focus and meant that gender diversity was approached like any other business issue.
As a result, women now make up 37% of our senior management and we have met the 33% goal for both the Board and combined Executive Committee and Direct reports population set out by the Hampton-Alexander Review.
This is good progress, but there is more to be done. Since I have become Chair, we have set new aspirations of 50% women, 3% Black and 13% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues in senior roles by 2025. These are challenging. We may not get there, but they demonstrate our commitment to what a modern company should look like. And whilst it is right that the focus is on building a diverse executive pipeline, the Board will aim to mirror these ambitions over time too.
The Hampton-Alexander Review has been a helpful and welcome companion over the last 5 years. The progress of UK business has been significant and demonstrates the value of voluntary action. I very much hope the momentum created will continue and help position the UK as one of the most progressive countries with regard to diversity.