Glencore International Plc’s $36 billion takeover of Xstrata Plc will unite about 130,000 employees that operate in more than 40 countries. The proposed board of directors doesn’t include a single woman.
Mining lags behind every other industry, including oil and gas, in terms of gender diversity, with women occupying just 5 percent of board positions, according to a January report by Women in Mining U.K. and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Of the seven companies in the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index with all-male boards, five are miners. Four of the world’s five biggest mining companies trade in London.
“If I chaired an all-male board I’d set to work immediately getting some women on it,” said Mark Moody-Stuart, a former chairman of both Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Anglo American Plc, whose board appointed Cynthia Carroll as its first woman chief executive officer. “I don’t think they really have much of an excuse. It’s a matter of putting thought and effort into it.”
Mining has long been seen as a male bastion, with women banned from working underground in some countries until recently. That’s being challenged by a growing skills shortage amid unprecedented demand for natural resources. A strong pipeline of women in senior management is ready to take the next step to the boardroom, according to a lobby group, supported by a proven correlation with higher profit margins.
Antofagasta Plc, Kazakhmys Plc and Vedanta Resources Plc join Glencore and Xstrata as mining companies with all-male boards. Chemical maker Croda International Plc and Melrose Industries Plc are the two other members of the FTSE 100 Index without female board members.
Glencore said a search process for a female director had identified potential candidates before being held up by the deal with Xstrata to create the world’s fourth-largest mining company.
“The appointment of a female board director is a significant consideration and will be an important area of focus for the new nominations committee,” the company said in a statement.
Glencore fell 2.5 percent to 382.35 pence by the close in London. Xstrata also declined 2.5 percent to 1,148.5 pence.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has urged companies to do more to promote women to board level, although his government has ruled out imposing quotas. A 2011 report by Mervyn Davies, a former banker, called for a target of 25 percent female representation at the biggest businesses.
There is “a long way to go,” Cameron said in Mumbai on Jan. 18, according to the Press Association. “If you look at the top businesses in Britain, there still aren’t nearly enough women in the boardroom.”
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