NWR Chairman Says Appointing Woman to Board a Priority This Year

New World Resources Plc, a supplier of coal to ArcelorMittal, said it will seek to appoint a woman to its all-male board this year.

“We are in the process of addressing that at the moment; it’s a priority for me,” Chairman Gareth Penny said in an interview. “Within the course of this year I would like to see at least one woman on our board.”

Mining lags behind every other industry, including oil and gas, in terms of gender diversity, with women occupying just 5 percent of board positions. Of the seven companies in the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index with all-male boards, five are miners.

NWR, a London-listed coal producer operating in central Europe, has a 13-member board. The government of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, which has urged companies to do more to promote women to board level, has ruled out imposing quotas. A 2011 report by former banker Mervyn Davies called for a target of 25 percent female representation at the biggest businesses.

“It’s something that we are very conscious of,” Penny said Feb. 22. The chairman, who joined NWR in October, is a former chief executive officer of diamond producer De Beers.

Mixed boards can lead to better performance, according to a 2012 report by Credit Suisse Group AG. In the past six years, companies with a market value of more than $10 billion, with at least one woman on the board, outperformed those with all-male boards in terms of share-price performance, the report showed. They also had a higher return on equity, lower gearing and better average growth.