In February 2011, Lord Davies of Abersoch published his report entitled ‘Women on Boards’, which reviewed the issue of gender diversity on the boards of UK listed companies and made a number of recommendations.
The Company’s Board has considered the report and its recommendations in detail and has approved the following statement by the Chairman, on behalf of the Company.
Statement on Board Diversity
As Chairman of British American Tobacco, I welcome the report by Lord Davies on Women on Boards released in February this year. The Company’s Board has considered the report in some detail, most recently at its meeting on 22 September 2011, and recognises the benefits of increased female representation, and Board diversity in its widest sense, both at Board level and throughout all levels within the organisation.
For a number of years, the Company has benefited from the presence on its Board of female Non-Executive Directors. Indeed, at our next meeting, our female Board representation will stand at 25 per cent, the 2015 aspirational target level of female representation on Boards for FTSE 100 companies, as set out in the Davies Report.
I hope that we shall be in a position at least to maintain and possibly to increase this level of representation when refreshing and renewing Board membership over the coming years. However, such aspirations will always be subject to the overriding need to ensure that appointments are made on merit and having regard to an appropriate balance of skills, experience, independence and knowledge required on the Board. We will continue to consider diversity, in its widest sense, when making these appointments.
The Davies Report also, quite properly, examines gender diversity at management levels below the Board. Whilst we have a number of initiatives to improve diversity at senior management levels, I recognise that these will take time to be reflected in the numbers of senior women in the Company.
We will continue to review and report further on our approach to gender diversity and related ambitions particularly in the context of any developing guidance in this area.
Statement on Board Diversity: September 2011 (23 kb)
28 September 2011