Although the covid-19 has made 2020 a fateful year, the year has also left issues to celebrate, such as the presence of women on the boards of directors of the largest companies listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange, which act as a showcase for the rest.
The female weight in the decision-making bodies of the Ibex 35 companies, finally, exceeds the 30% barrier established in the Good Governance Code of the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV).
There are a total of 138 women who occupy 31% of the 445 seats distributed by all the firms of the selective stock market, 12 more than in 2019 after a year-on-year rise of 2.4 points after a last-minute race for getting to the finish line.
After the entry of 25 new female directors in total (the departure of 9 and the loss of two more as a result of the change in the companies that make up the stock market indicator), 21 companies have done their homework and put the gender quota of their boards at that 30% or above.
But still they are below 14, breach the recommendations of the CNMV that precisely have hardened in 2020, imposing a percentage of 40% of face 2022 and pointing more high directives listed.
The calculation includes changes to the composition of the board proposed at shareholders meetings already called, but not yet held. Thus, new directors of Acerinox, Aena, Amadeus, Indra and Merlin are pending to be appointed to the board.
Among those that suspend, a company, Telefónica, touches 30%; another five (Acciona, Colonial, Meliá, Viscofán and Banco Sabadell) are three points away. Enagás, Naturgy, Amadeus and Bankia, between 25% and 23%; while Cie Automotive, ACS, Ferrovial and Solaria appear as the worst in the class, with percentages that vary from 21% to 17%.
On the contrary, Red Eléctrica, after the appointment of Beatriz Corredor as non-executive president of the entity, is positioned as the only completely equal company on the Ibex, with the same number of women and men. Caixabank follows, ahead of Banco Santander.
They are the three companies that would comply with the new recommendations of the stock market supervisor today of the entire selective.
The entity that José Ignacio Goirigolzarri will preside over after the merger with Bankia will go from having six advisers to just five , from 43% female presence to 33%. Indra, Bankinter, Cellnex, Inditex, PharmaMar, Iberdrola and Merlin Properties are among those that are closer to 40% where equity is established.
There are companies that make sufficient efforts to recruit female talent for their advice and others that do not, says Krista Walochik, a partner at the high-ranking recruitment firm Talengo, which has tackled more processes in 2020 “in the race to reach 30% ”.
This expert believes that these two speeds will also be transferred to the renewed recommendations of the CNMV, which has given time for the mandates of the current administrators to expire.
Eugènia Bieto, Endesa director appointed in the year that has just ended, nevertheless thinks that the Ibex photo of 2023 will be totally different because listed companies have made it one of their objectives to achieve equality. Another different thing will be the progress in the direction, which is where the real problem lies, he adds.
Naturgy, the company that in recent years had the worst portrayed in terms of equality, has appointed two women to its governing body in 2020, leaving the climax of the class. Isabel Estapé is one of them .
This notary public, who is also part of the board of Criteria, acknowledges that “I am very sorry to join boards of directors like Naturgy because of the fees, when my whole life has been otherwise”. The Sunday administrator contrary to positive discrimination by law indicates that in a few months a fourth advisor will join the energy company board.
The energy company chaired by Francisco Reynés, Endesa and Almirall are the three organizations that have incorporated two administrators to their decision-making bodies in 2020.
Just the opposite of what happened at Iberdrola, which loses one of its six female directors, being the only one from the Ibex which falls back part of the path walked in parity, although it meets the recommended levels by far, it goes from leading the classification with a percentage close to 43% to standing at 36%.
The weight of women in the large listed companies is increasing, says Tobías Martínez, CEO of Cellnex, because companies have taken their equality policies seriously. Martínez does not hide that the CNMV’s recommendations have been an incentive for this.
In fact, 14 of the 35 Ibex companies have increased the seats occupied by administrators during the year that has just ended. “We have been very slow due to the internal resistance of the councils, which are looking for candidates among their close people, and until the regulation has pressed no more women have been incorporated,” supports a counselor who requests anonymity.
Banco Sabadell is one of the entities that has recruited female talent and Mireia Giné , independent director of the entity, has been launched in 2020 as administrator.
Aware that the priorities in the governing bodies of listed companies have changed due to the emergence of covid-19 to focus more on systematizing risk analysis, the sustainability of the business model and new opportunities, Giné believes that they are also focusing in avoiding the loss of human capital.
Analyzing the effectiveness of teleworking and paying special attention to ensuring that women remain in the front line, since they are the ones who have suffered the most from the pandemic by having to take care of their children.
“Many of the strategic plans have been ruined by the pandemic. For all large companies it is being a challenge and, as their results are worse, the boards have to dedicate more time to the new priorities, which go through redoing the strategy ”, explains Estapé.