Think Tank Calls For "Rooney Rule" In Board Appointments
22 November 2016
Think tank Policy Connect's Bittersweet Success? report has followed the Parker Review in calling for BAME representation on all FTSE100 boards by 2021, whilst also going further by calling on all FTSE100 companies to adopt the "Rooney Rule", where all final interviews for board positions should contain one non-white candidate on the shortlist.
enei Chief Executive Denise Keating commented:
“Non-white UK citizens make up 14% of the population, but hold only 1.5% of FTSE100 board positions. The Parker Review calls for every FTSE100 board to have a non-white member by 2021 which simply seems sensible given the number of people in a normal FTSE100 boardroom (averaging 10.8) and the fact that 1 in 7 people in wider society are non-white. Like women on boards, there is no real reason that this target is unrealistic. The recommendation by Policy Exchange that the Rooney Rule is applied in all shortlists is less clear cut. enei doesn’t believe that a quota system works, in appointments or shortlisting, as it implies that the candidate is present to meet requirements rather than on the merit of their skills and abilities.
“As Lord Davies’ Review into women on boards proved, quotas are also unnecessary. With women on boards, media, political and industry pressures all came together to force businesses to consider their board appointments far more carefully, without the need for legislative action. A voluntary, target based approach to board diversity does work as long as actions are monitored and reported on. Targeting at least one non-white member may have more impact that a percentage target because we know that of the 150 companies that increased the proportion of women on their Boards, 31% had done so by just reducing their overall Board size – they had reduced the number of men but made no female appointments.”