* Group is only FTSE 100 company with all-male board
* Issue has drawn criticism from shareholders
* Female representation on FTSE 100 boards now up to 20 pct
* Single Glencore appointment not enough, says fund adviser
(Writes through, adds Hayward quote, PIRC comment, details)
By Silvia Antonioli
LONDON, May 20 Glencore Xstrata plans
to appoint a female board member by the end of the year, its
chairman told shareholders on Tuesday, and rid itself of the
dubious distinction of being the only British blue-chip company
with an all-male board.
The mining and commodities-trading group and its chairman,
Tony Hayward, have come under fire from some investors over its
apparent failure to embrace the recommendations of a 2011
government report into the lack of diversity at the top of
Britain's leading companies.
The British government's 2011 Davies Review set a target for
all companies in the FTSE 100 index to have a quarter of their
board positions held by women by 2015, stating that "inclusive
and diverse boards are more likely to be effective boards,
better able to understand their customers and stakeholders and
to benefit from fresh perspectives, new ideas, vigorous
challenge and broad experience".
Though the review stopped short of advocating enforced
quotas, the percentage of women board members at FTSE 100
companies had risen to 20.7 percent by March this year, from
12.5 percent in 2011.
When Chilean mining company Antofagasta appointed
Vivianne Blanlot as a director in March, that left Glencore as
the only FTSE 100 company without female representation on its
But that will change by the end of the year, Hayward told
the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday.
"Glencore values and promotes diversity across its business.
The appointment of a female board member would be a key sign of
that commitment to this area," said Hayward, the former BP
boss who was appointed as permanent chairman this month
after a year as interim chairman.
"It's an important priority of the board to appoint a female
director before the end of this year."
But his comments received a less than enthusiastic response
in some quarters.
"If Glencore were to appoint a single woman on the board by
the end of the year, that would still leave them as the laggard
of the FTSE 100. The question of diversity has gone past one
representative on the board," said a spokesman for London-based
fund adviser Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC).
"Glencore should foreshadow to the market now what the 2015
targets are for board diversity, and they need to get a bit of a
(Editing by David Goodman)