No listed company meets the statutory target number of women on its executive and supervisory boards

September 3, 2015

The number of women on the supervisory boards of Dutch listed companies has risen slightly this year.So has the number of women in the executive boards. Yet no listed company meets the statutory target of 30% women on either the executive board or the supervisory board. This target should be achieved by January 1, 2016.

Of all the supervisory directors in the 84 Dutch listed companies over 21% are female. This is shown by the 2015 Female Board Index. This is a slight increase compared to 2014 (+ 1%). The number of women on executive boards is 7.8%, in 2014 this was 6.7%. (Reference date: August 31, 2015) 

There were three new female directors (Heineken, Delta Lloyd, and Holland Colours), but another female director (TomTom) left, so that the net increase is only two new female directors. Of all the 69 new supervisory directors, 27.5% are female (19). On balance, there were 11 new female supervisory directors. However, still three-quarters of the new supervisory directors are male.

Unilever has the most women on its combined executive and supervisory board; six of the twelve board members are women (50%), all six are supervisory directors: the two executive directors at Unilever are male. Not one listed company meets the statutory target of 30% women on either the executive board or the supervisory board. Akzo Nobel, Delta Lloyd, and PostNL are nearly there: they have more than 30% of female directors, but remain just below the target of 30% with 29% female supervisory directors. 

Dutch Female Board Index

The Dutch Female Board Index compiled by Prof. Dr. Mijntje Lückerath, professor of Corporate Governance at TIAS School for Business and Society, shows the dynamic in the proportion of women on executive and supervisory boards of Dutch listed companies since late 2007.

Lückerath: "In 2013 it was decided that the articles of the law stipulating target figures will automatically expire on January 1, 2016. Perhaps, it was thought that the 30% would have been achieved by then and the law would, therefore, no longer be needed. But now that it appears that this part of the Management and Supervision Act is not complied with, the responsible Security and Justice Minister Van der Steur should be asked what he is going to do about it."

Men are appointed

Twenty-five of the 84 stock exchange securities funds (30%) do not have any woman on their executive or supervisory boards while there have been enough opportunities this year too to put this right. At 16 companies without female directors, 19 (male) directors have been appointed this year, at 12 companies without female supervisors, 22 new (male) supervisory directors have been appointed.

Age, tenure, and nationality 

The Female Board Index shows many other details about the composition of the executive and supervisory boards at the 84 listed companies. It appears that the average director sits on the EB for 5.7 years and the average supervisory director sits for 4.7 years on the SB. Women have relatively shorter tenure in the EB or SB, which is respectively 4.2 and 3.2 years. The average age of the directors is 52.9 years, the average age of the supervisors is 61.2 years. Women are relatively younger, with respectively 48.1 and 55.9 years.

The proportion of foreigners in the executive and supervisory boards are on average 23% and 30%, women are more often from abroad: 44% of directors and 42% of female supervisory directors come from abroad.

Read more

Dutch Summary Female Board Index (2015)
The whole report: Female Board Index (2015)

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