Helena Morrissey on Founding the 30% Club

The CEO of Newton Investment, and mother of nine, on founding the 30% Club of executives committed to getting more women on company boards
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell

When I became chief executive officer of Newton in 2001, I’d been there seven years. My husband had quit to stay home. I wanted to continue my career. It’s a big part of my fulfillment in life. I cared about advancing women, but I didn’t want to be marginalized as doing only that. As CEO, you want to create a culture that’s better for everybody. In 2009, I was at a lunch at Goldman Sachs. Everyone was talking about diversity, and I realized we were all stuck. There were maybe 10 or 15 percent women in the senior ranks, and the numbers were just as low on boards. After the financial crisis, there was a feeling we needed better governance. I’d seen what having women there can do. That said, I find quotas somewhat condescending. I don’t support the [European Union] plan to force a 40 percent female quota on boards. I wouldn’t want to be part of a board because I’m filling a quota.

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