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Progress Accelerates for Women in U.S. Boardrooms: More than 29% of New Directors in the Fortune 500 in 2014 Were Women

Rear view of full-length brunette woman who is drawing business icons on the black board.

New research points to accelerating progress for women in boardrooms within the Fortune 500. Of the 339 new directors appointed in Fortune 500 boardrooms in 2014, 99 were women, representing 29.2% of the total—compared to 25.9% in 2013 and 22.8% in 2012, according to Heidrick & Struggles, provider of executive search, leadership consulting and culture shaping worldwide. The Heidrick & Struggles Board Monitor projects that women will account for 50% of new board directors in the Fortune 500 in the United States for the first time in 2024.

“Companies are increasingly focused on appointing more women directors—recognizing that better governance results when diverse points of view are reflected in the boardroom,” said Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles’ Board Practice in North America, in a news release.

“One of the biggest obstacles to diversifying the boardroom has been the notion that the ideal director must have CEO experience,” Gwin said. Only slightly more than 5% of CEOs in the Fortune 1000 are women. “Boards are more open to candidates with different leadership profiles, experiences and backgrounds. This shift will lead to greater diversity of thinking and help boards benefit from wider-ranging strategic insights,” she said.

The latest survey data indicates boards will continue to seek directors from both genders who bring varied experience and perspectives to bear on today’s—and tomorrow’s—complex strategic challenges.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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