SocGen Has Biggest Share of Women on Bank Boards

  • Proportion of women on boards in finance rises to 23 percent
  • Women make up half the French bank's non-executive board

Societe Generale SA has the biggest share of women in the boardroom among 20 major European lenders, according to an industrywide survey on gender diversity.

The proportion of female directors at 220 financial firms across Europe increased to 23 percent in 2015 from 20 percent in a similar study carried out the previous year by New Financial, a London-based research firm.

Increasing the proportion of women in the highest echelons of finance has become more of a priority for the world’s biggest banks since the 2008 financial crisis, with gender diversity seen as an asset to prevent future meltdowns. Lenders from Lloyds Banking Group Plc to Deutsche Bank AG have said they want to appoint more women to senior roles, while countries from France to Norway have implemented quotas to boost the number of females in top-tier positions.

“The numbers are moving in the right direction,” Yasmine Chinwala, a partner at New Financial and author of the report, said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “The industry must continue to work hard to maintain this momentum and accelerate the pace of change.”

Sweden Leads

Societe Generale has seven women among 14 board members, including Nathalie Rachou, a former Credit Agricole banker who is now chief executive officer of fund manager Topiary Finance Ltd., and former ABN Amro Bank NV executive Alexandra Schaapveld.

While the French bank ranked highest among 20 banks included in the survey, Swedish pension fund Forsta AP-fonden topped firms across 11 sectors covered. Women make up 63 percent of board members there.

(Corrects spelling of company name in first paragraph.)
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