BusinessDay

NGX top 20 firms show female board directors rising

Nigerian companies are now having more female representation on their boards as seen in the 2021 PWR NGX Top 20 Gender Diversity Scorecard, which showed a marginal improvement in the number of female board directors (23.4%) in July 2021 compared to last year (20.9).

The reason for the marginal increase according to Ivana I. Osagie, Founder, PWR Advisory, a leadership, diversity and inclusion advisory and advocacy firm was due to the release of the inaugural edition last year, which galvanised huge momentum in corporate Nigeria, raising awareness of the business case for gender diversity in boardrooms. As a result, since then there has been a slight increase in the number of appointments of women to boards particularly as non-executive directors and as managing directors.

Consequently, 20 percent of the banks in the NGX Top 20 have at least 30 percent female board representation. (This does not include Holding companies with banking subsidiaries).

Reacting to the development, Ayodele Akinwunmi, relationship manager, corporate banking at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, said Women taking top leadership roles in these top companies is a good development and it will help to inspire and empower the younger female generation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria stipulates 30 percent female representation on the boards of Nigerian commercial banks In the Financial Services sector, 28.6 percent of the boards in this list are chaired by women.

Recently, Miriam Olusanya was appointed the managing director of Guaranty Trust (GTB) since the institution’s establishment in 1990.

At the beginning of the year, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe was appointed the CEO of Fidelity Bank PLc. Tomi Somefun has been the managing director/CEO of Unity Bank since August 2015.

Also, Yemisi Edun became the first female MD of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) rising from the acting managing director of the bank.

Bukola Smith was appointed as the managing director of FSDH Merchant Bank in April 2021. Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, became the managing director, Citibank Nigeria in September 2021.

Across the other sectors represented (Consumer Goods, Industrial Goods, ICT & Oil/Gas), none of the boards are chaired by women.

Read also: Encouraging more female CEOs in the banking sector

The scorecard measures the level of female representation on the boards of the top 20 capitalised companies on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).

The report stated that 25 percent of the top 20 companies have at least 30 percent female representation on their boards. However, 30 percent of the top 20 companies met the criteria last year.

Findings from the report revealed that 10 percent of the companies have female board chairs against 15 percent in 2020. These companies are all banks as was the case in 2020.

Five highest-ranked performers include Lafarge Cement Wapco, Stanbic Ibtc Holdings, Nigerian Breweries, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Holdings Co.

In general, female board representation in Nigeria is comparable to Ghana where it is 23 percent according to TheBoardroom Africa. In South Africa, women hold 29 percent of board seats in the top 100 listed companies, according to the figures released by the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative. Globally, board gender diversity has been in the spotlight over the last 12 months. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority is proposing new guidelines under which companies ensure 40 percent of board seats are filled by women.

Additionally, at least one senior board position – Chair, CEO, CFO or senior independent director – is to be occupied by a woman. Companies will be required to ’comply or explain’. In the US, NASDAQ is proposing adopting mandatory listing rules along the same vein.

The data used in this study was sourced from a combination of company annual reports, company websites and the Nigerian Exchange Group website and was current as of July 2021. 40 percent or more female representation 30 percent or more female representation 10 percent or more female representation Less than 10 percent female representation 0 percent female representation Ranking The 2021 PWR NGX Top 20 Gender Diversity Scorecard Edition 2.0 July 2021 5.

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