Dax Management Board Survey 2023: For the first time, more women than men become DAX management board members

DEIIndustry TrendsNext Generation BoardsDiversity & CultureBoard and CEO Advisory
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February 07, 2023
4 min read
DEIIndustry TrendsNext Generation BoardsDiversity & CultureBoard and CEO Advisory
Key insights from the 2023 edition of Russell Reynolds’ annual comprehensive survey of German Dax 40 management boards.


Read the German version


Russell Reynolds 2023 analysis of management boards reveals that for the first time in the history of Germany's most important DAX 40 stock index, more women than men were newly appointed to management boards within one year. The proportion of women on the management boards of Germany's 40 largest listed companies rose by almost a fifth, or 3.6% percentage points, from 19.1% to 22.7% in 2022. Ten years ago, in 2013, the proportion of women was still at 6.8% (then in the DAX 30).

Two of the 40 DAX companies have a female share of 50% on their management boards (Siemens Healthineers and Fresenius Medical Care), while at 12 companies the share is one-third or higher. Four DAX companies (compared with eight in the previous year) still have no women on their management boards (Linde, Porsche SE, Sartorius, Symrise). Of these, only one company (Sartorius) is legally required to take action because it falls under the Second Management Positions Act (FüPoG II, entered into force in August 2022). The law requires listed companies and companies with equal co-determination* to have at least one female board member on their management boards if it has more than three members.

"In 2022, more women than men were appointed to DAX management boards - a first in the history of Germany's leading index. Thus, the requirements of the Second Leadership Positions Act have had a clear impact just six months after coming into force. It is to be expected that this will have an effect beyond the scope of the law and that diversity in management teams will become a new normal," says Jens-Thomas Pietralla, Head of the European Board & CEO Practice at Russell Reynolds Associates. "The new female management board members also serve as important role models, encouraging up-and-coming female leaders to aspire to leadership responsibilities. The fact that half of the female management board members were recruited from within the company shows that a cultural transformation has taken place, at least in the largest German companies, and is beginning to bear fruit."

Additionally, the analysis reveals that more women are being appointed to positions that include P&L responsibility, and fewer are being appointed to previously dominant roles such as HR.

German management boards have also become more international: the proportion of German nationals on DAX management boards fell from 67% to 63% last year. The proportion of foreign nationals is higher among women than among men (44% vs. 35%). For new appointments, the reverse is true: among the new female DAX management board members in 2022, half were German nationals, among the men around 20%.

The analysis of DAX management boards also reveals that the key issue of sustainability is increasingly the responsibility of the CEO - now at more than half of all DAX companies. Three companies have appointed a management board member specifically responsible for sustainability.

"Overall, the trend at the DAX management board level is clear: DAX boards are becoming more female, more international, and sustainability is increasingly the CEO's responsibility; it is now embedded at the highest management level of the majority of DAX companies, giving it the weight needed to drive the corporate realignment often required to achieve sustainability goals. In summary, we are witnessing the greatest transformation of German management boards in decades," says Dr. Thomas Tomkos, Head of the German Board & CEO Practice at Russell Reynolds Associates.

With regards to female representation, the 40 DAX companies are clearly leading over the German M-DAX stock index with its 50 medium-sized companies. Although the proportion of women on the management boards of the M-DAX companies in 2022 made its second-largest leap within the last ten years, from 11.7% to 13.7%, the M-DAX still ranks at the bottom when compared to similar indices internationally. Of its 50 companies, more than half (27) still have no women on their management boards.

*Codetermination: German law ensuring workers/employees are represented on supervisory boards.





Dax Report 2023

For the first time, more women than men become DAX board members




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