1,100 Female Managers Lacking Among 30 Largest Companies

Women underrepresented on executive boards and at highest management levels in DAX-30 companies. More than 1,100 nominees are lacking.

Handelsblatt | June 25, 2018


The Handelsblatt article, “1,100 Female Managers Lacking Among 30 Largest Companies," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Jens-Thomas Pietralla and Thomas Tomkos. It also featured the firm's research about the continued lack of enough female board members in DAX companies. An excerpt of the article, translated from the original German, is below.

Bonn. While the statutory quota of 30 percent women on supervisory boards from the 30 largest German companies was reached for the first time this year, it looks a bit different on the executive board level and at the highest management levels. At those levels, DAX companies are still quite far from the self-defined goals or a quota of 30 percent.


Currently, 11 supervisory board members come from the USA, 24 from Austria and Switzerland, 30 from other European countries, and six from the rest of the world. The important future markets - Asia, Latin America, and Africa - are practically not even represented on the DAX-30 supervisory boards.

These are the results from an annual human resource consultation by Russell Reynolds Associates, which was published today. "Spectacular times have dawned for qualified women who want to go all the way to the top. Urgent searches are underway for female managers," explains Jens-Thomas Pietralla, head of the European CEO & Board Practice Group at Russell Reynolds Associates.


"So, digitalization appears to be especially feminine."

The quota of women in supervisory boards could be reached this year primarily because of Anglo-American female managers. "Germany needs to catch up when it comes to bringing on an adequate number of female managers in top position," says Pietralla.


Women have been a substantial help in this area. The percentage of female digitalization experts has quadrupled from three to 12 in the last four years. Around 48% of all digitalization positions in DAX-30 companies are held by women, which is around one-half. "A disproportionately high number of female supervisory board members supports digitalization in Germany because of their expertise," claims Thomas Tomkos, head of the German CEO & Board Practice Group at Russel Reynolds Associates. "So, digitalization appears to be especially feminine."


The study also shows that unbundling goods and services continues to make progress. Linkage between supervisory boards, which was previously criticized as Germany Inc., is going down; the accumulation of positions on supervisory boards across DAX-30 companies is decreasing. However, in 2018, more current board members from DAX-30 companies were again incorporated into supervisory boards, thus ensuring an increasing linkage between management and audit bodies. "After the greatly increased expectations on supervisory boards of late, this is completely a surprising development," says Tomkos.

The entire article in its original German can be found here.

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1,100 Female Managers Lacking Among 30 Largest Companies