Top 100 Women in Business

ANZ’s Brenda Trenowden and National Grid’s Susan Robson lead the FT & HERoes Champions of Women in Business 2018

  • The 2018 FT & HERoes Champions of Women in Business Role Model lists are revealed
  • Brenda Trenowden CBE, Head of Financial Institutions, ANZ, tops this year’s ‘100 Female Executives’ category
  • Susan Robson, Principal Consultant, National Grid, tops the inaugural ‘50 Female Future Leaders’ category
  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, leads the way in this year’s ‘50 Male Executives’ category.
  • The lists celebrate exceptional business leaders of all genders across the world who are committed to promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The FT & HERoes Champions of Women in Business lists were announced yesterday, Thursday 20th of September 2018, celebrating role models who are driving the female talent pipeline in business.

The FT & HERoes 100 Female Executives

Brenda Trenowden CBE, Head of Financial Institutions, ANZ, has ranked first in this year’s FT & HERoes 100 Female Executives category. The financial services professional has been recognised for her dedication to promoting a fair gender balance in UK workplaces as part of her work as Chair of the 30% Club. Brenda’s role as an adviser to the Governmental Hampton-Alexander Review on increasing female representation on FTSE 350 boards has also been recognised. Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money earned the number two spot, whilst Melanie Richards, Deputy Chair, KPMG was ranked third.

See also: Your guide to utilising sponsorship and mentoring for diversity

The FT & HERoes 50 Female Future Leaders

This year’s FT & HERoes lists also sees the launch of a category dedicated to championing future female business leaders. Susan Robson, Principal Consultant, National Grid, has ranked first in the inaugural 50 Female Future Leaders list. Susan has been rewarded for her voluntary work to create gender diversity in the workplace, particularly within typically male-dominated STEM roles. Lucinda Wakefield, VP Principal Administration, and Planning, BNY Mellon, was ranked second, whilst Sue McLean, Partner, Baker McKenzie, came in third.

The FT & HERoes 50 Male Executives

The FT & HERoes also acknowledge the important role men play in pushing for gender equality in business. Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, has ranked first in this year’s 50 Male Executives category. Under Paul’s leadership, Unilever has become a gender-balanced business with 45% of its non-executive directors and 47% of its managers are female thanks to its leading retention and recruitment policies. Peter T Grauer, Executive Chairman, Bloomberg, came in second and Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce was named third.

Current landscape for women in the workplace

  • Only eight FTSE 100 companies have female CEOs, yet there are eight CEOs called David
  • Only 24 female CEOs lead the companies on the 2018 Fortune 500 list, a drop from the 2017 list
  • ONS data indicates that there is a 9.8% median gender pay gap in the UK
  • Eight in ten UK firms pay men more than women
  • There are no industry sectors that pay women more than men, with companies in construction and finance reporting the largest gender pay gap
  • Research by INvolve and Cebr shows gender discrimination in UK workplaces costs the economy £123billion every year
  • ONS data shows that 71% of British women are employed, compared to 81% of men
  • Research from Monster.co.uk shows that a quarter of women have experienced or witnessed gender inequality in the workplace in the past twelve months

See also: The importance of mentorship to get women into leadership roles

The awards were judged by Suki Sandhu, Founder & CEO, INvolve, Helena Morrissey, Head of Personal Investing, Legal & General Investment Management, Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments, Mark Wilson, Group CEO, Aviva, Gigi Chao, Executive Vice Chairman, Cheuk Nang Holdings and Harriet Arnold, Assistant Editor, Special Reports, FT.

Suki Sandhu Founder of INvolve and HERoes women in business
Suki Sandhu Founder of INvolve and HERoes women in business

These lists have been created with one aim – to create gender parity in workplaces across the globe. The role models we’re recognising aren’t just those who have achieved success themselves – they’re those who are committed to lifting others with them as they climb, and ultimately fueling the female talent pipeline. As evidenced by the recent reporting of gender pay gap data across the UK, the quest for workplace gender equality is not complete. All of our champions are inspiring the next generation of female talent who will go on to obliterate the glass ceiling. Ultimately, through these lists we hope to encourage individuals and businesses to stand up and work together to drive change not just in workplaces, but across society as a whole.

Suki Sandhu, Founder of INvolve and HERoes

Brenda Trenowden CBE, Head of Financial Institutions, ANZ women in business
Brenda Trenowden CBE, Head of Financial Institutions, ANZ women in business

I am both humbled and delighted to be included in a list of so many inspirational men and women, all of whom are doing a great deal to empower and promote women in business. Recognition like this helps to keep gender diversity near the top of the agenda. I believe that we all have a responsibility to lead by example and to create truly inclusive workplace cultures where everyone can thrive and succeed. I’m encouraged that this is becoming a mainstream issue and that we are making progress, but there is still much more to do!

Brenda Trenowden CBE, Head of Financial Institutions, ANZ

Susan Robson, Principal Consultant, National Grid women in business
Susan Robson, Principal Consultant, National Grid women in business

For any business to succeed, diversity and inclusion need to be at the centre of their strategic priorities. Diversity of thought and voices at all levels of the workplace leads to fresh and innovative problem solving. For National Grid, this not only enables us to deliver good business results but is critical for safety-first operations and customer-focus. We can only truly understand our customers and communities if our own people represent the stakeholders we serve. At National Grid we know that being inclusive takes all of us, from all backgrounds, to work together. Leading the Women’s Network at National Grid is a fantastic place to make a difference, and it’s enormously rewarding to know we are helping women unlock value in their careers and inspiring women and girls into the energy industry.

Susan Robson, Principal Consultant, National Grid

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever women in business
Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever women in business

It is a great honour to be recognised in this way, as this is an issue I feel very strongly about. It gets the heart of what it means to be a part of an open society where everyone has the right to live with dignity and respect, able to meet their full potential. Investing in women and their leadership potential has also been shown, repeatedly, to be one of the biggest opportunities for business today.

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever