financial and business news

Women underrepresent the head of large Swiss groups

Zurich ( – Even if the situation has improved somewhat, women are still underrepresented at the head of large Swiss companies. Among the groups listed on the Swiss stock exchange, almost none is headed by a woman.

While in 2016, women on the boards of companies listed on the SMI star index represented a share of 21%, this percentage has increased over the years to reach 28% this year, according to a published study Sunday by executive recruiter Russell Reynolds.

But there is little but the watchmaker Swatch to have entrusted the chairmanship of the board of directors to a woman, Nayla Hayek.

In 2020, they are only 11.5% to sit in the management of companies for SMI companies and barely 7.8% for those of the extended SMIM index.

The differences are however still significant. At the level of the 20 SMI companies, none is headed by a woman and only the cement manufacturer Lafargehohooly-news.comm has a financial director in the person of GĂ©raldine Picaud.

The ranking of the most virtuous companies in this area includes the insurer Zurich Insurance with a share of 27% on the management committee, followed by Bank Credit Suisse (25%), the Novartis laboratory (23%) and Lafargehohooly-news.comm (20 %).

Companies such as the operator Swisscom, the insurer Swiss Life, the construction chemist Sika and the inspection and certification specialist SGS do not, however, have any female members on their management.

The situation is hardly better if we consider the fifty companies listed on the broader SMIM index. Only the chemist Ems Chemie is headed by a general manager, Magdalena Martullo-Blocher, while the road specialist Bucher hired a woman, Manuela Suter, as financial director, continues the study.

Switzerland at the bottom of the European ranking

Ems-Chemie has a female share of 33% in its management committee, followed by the industrial group Oerlikon (25%) and Bucher (22%). The producer of VAT valves, the real estate company Swiss Prime Site and the manufacturer of elevators and escalators Schindler, on the other hand, did not include any women in their management.

Despite the overall improvement in the situation, Switzerland still performs poorly compared to other European countries. The most virtuous in terms of gender diversity in management are Norwegian companies with a female share of 27%, followed by Sweden (24%) and the United Kingdom (23%).

Switzerland, with its 11.5% share in management committees, is at the bottom of the ranking, ahead of Italy (12%) and Germany (14%). France has a share of 20%.

“In Switzerland, the role of senior manager is becoming feminized. If this year’s growth rate is maintained, the boards of directors of the 50 largest companies will have a female share of 30% in about two years,” said Matthias Oberholzer by Russell Reynolds.

Swiss companies should therefore be able to narrowly comply with the legislation which provides, for listed companies with at least 250 employees, quotas of 30% of women on boards of directors and 20% of managers.

al / rp