David Gonski launches 30% Club ‘Surge for Diversity’ Campaign

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David Gonski

The 30 % Club has launched the 30% ‘Surge for Diversity’ campaign to increase the momentum for change in Australia’s boardrooms, and is calling on the corporate community for support.

Launching the campaign at a 30% Club meeting in Sydney today, ANZ chair and prominent supporter of the 30% Club, David Gonski AC, said that achieving greater board diversity was an important part of enhancing corporate governance.

“Diversity of thought and independence are essential elements of an effective board, which is why we must continue to push to achieve our goals of at least 30 per cent female ASX 200 board members,” Gonski said.

Over the next two months the Australian chapter 30 % Club, which has the primary objective of achieving 30 per cent female representation across ASX 200 boards by the end of 2018, will campaign for commitments from companies that do not currently meet the target.

As part of this campaign, the 30% Club’s Investors Working Group members will apply pressure through their channels to help drive activity and the Executive Search Working Group will be on hand to assist with the appointment process.

The 30% Club will release a key research report on board succession practices and how to improve diversity on the boards of Australia’s largest companies.

The chair of 30% Club Australia, Patricia Cross, says that after stalling in 2017, the appointment of women to ASX 200 boards has picked up again this year and the 30% Surge for Diversity campaign aims to drive that momentum.

Cross says: “Our focus is on those boards that have yet to reach 30 per cent, most specifically the 62 which have appointed one woman and feel they have thus ticked the gender diversity box.

“In that group there are over 20 boards with a number of male directors who have served longer than the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s recommended tenure. One way of quickly reaching 30 per cent is to replace each of those men with a woman.”

According to the latest Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) quarterly Gender Diversity Report, as at 28 February 2018, women account for 26.7 per cent of ASX 200 directorships.

Women accounted for 36 per cent of appointments to ASX 200 boards in 2017 but the proportion spiked up to 47 per cent in the first two months of this year.

It was the highest rate of female appointments to ASX 200 boards since the AICD started tracking gender diversity statistics

Among ASX 200 companies, 74 have reached the 30 per cent target. Only five ASX 200 companies have no female directors.

The 30% Club was launched in 2015, with the primary objective of securing 30 per cent of the seats on ASX 200 boards for women.

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