Eight talented women in business across a variety of FTSE 100 and 250 companies were recognised by the WeQual Awards last night.
More than 250 senior executives – including 18 CEOs – of FTSE 100 and 250 companies attended a glittering ceremony at The Savoy hosted by Sandi Toksvig.
The WeQual Awards have been designed to boost the number of talented women sitting on the executive committees of the UK’s biggest companies.
Aimed at those who are one step away from executive committee level – the ‘ExCo minus one’ – these awards honour talented women who are on the cusp of leadership at a time when FTSE companies have yet to significantly increase
Despite growing calls for change, women still represent only 25% of the Combined Executive Committee and Direct Reports across the FTSE 250. The majority (60%) of new appointments to senior roles continues to be men.
The awards’ unique judging process involved a blind assessment procedure – aimed at taking out any natural bias – followed by interviews of shortlisted candidates by a panel of prestigious judges, which included chairmen and women, CEOs and executive committee members of FTSE 350 companies.
Katie Litchfield, Founder and CEO of the WeQual Awards, said: “Celebrating these outstanding women on the cusp of leadership positions for their talent and hard work is truly what the WeQual Awards are all about. Our aim is not only to provide much needed recognition, but also to help to facilitate the progression of these women and their peers as they move towards the top roles of UK businesses, bringing them a step closer to reaching the Hampton-Alexander target of 33 per cent representation of women across executive committees and direct reports by 2020.”
Dame Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyd’s of London, said: “I look today, and I see how few women are running FTSE companies here in the UK. I get so disappointed. The WeQual Awards are all about actually wanting to make a difference for women in the workplace and changing the statistics about the number of female CEOs there are in the world. That’s why I think it’s different from many of the other awards that are out there.”
Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Barclays, UK, said:“It is tougher being a senior female in an organisation than it is a male, that’s just a fact of life. I think we’re seeing an acceleration, but probably not still quite fast enough: if you haven’t grown the population of potential successors, you won’t see the dial move fast enough and that’s why the WeQual Awards are so important.”
John Amaechi OBE,
WeQual Awards categories are mapped against eight roles on the Executive Committee.
The eight WeQual winners for 2019 are:
Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships (Financial & Commercial)
Sharon Singh, Head of Operations (Operations)
Amanda Roche-Kelly, Managing Director – Ireland (Customer and Marketing)
St. James’s Place plc
Liz Kelly, Director, CEO Office & Company Secretary (Legal)
Hina Nagarajan, Managing Director, Africa Emerging (Diversity & Inclusion)
Esther Roman, Global Talent Director (People and HR)
Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc
Dr Sarah Peers, Group Corporate Communications Manager (Communications)
Storm Fagan, Product Director (Digital, Cyber Security and Technology)
The awards were founded by Katie Litchfield, formerly of the Financial Times, and backed by Dame Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyds of London and Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Barclays, UK.
The judging panels included Sir Ian Cheshire, Dame Inga Beale, Charlotte Hogg and Dame Cilla Snowball among others.
The awards’ charity partner is Crisis, a UK national charity for homeless people.