For the first time in history, the total number of women who joined the Boards of Directors of listed companies was higher than that of men. Specifically, during the previous year, 56% of newcomers to the governing bodies of Spanish companies on the Ibex and the continuous market were women, according to the sixth report on Korn Ferry’s new directors, which analyzes appointments to the 124 Spanish listed companies, as of December 31, 2021

Despite this increase, the number of female directors remains below the minimum recommended by the CMMV Code of Good Governance. As of 2023, the regulator aims for 40% of the seats on the Board of Directors to be occupied by women. At the end of the previous year, only 29% of the listed companies had reached this goal. In this sense, the European Union has already begun to prepare a directive in order to legally shield the aforementioned percentage of 40% at the beginning of 2026. “At least 40% of the underrepresented gender must be represented on the non-executive boards of companies listed companies or 33% among all directors. Member States must guarantee that companies strive to achieve this objective”, sentences from the European institutions.

At the end of 2021, the total number of chairs occupied by women on the Boards of Directors of listed companies amounted to 33.39%, its highest percentage in history. “I think there will be companies that do not reach the 40% figure, it already happened in 2020 when it was necessary to reach 30%. Despite the fact that this measure is a recommendation, all companies are going to want to make an effort to do well in the photo”, clarifies Loreto González, senior partner of Kirn ferry and leader of the Board of Directors practice.

From the consultancy they emphasize that not only the new recommendations are driving this change. They consider that in recent years “a pool of women who can be advised” has been created that allows them to access these senior management positions. “There are more and more women who have a career in line with the requirements to be a counselor,” they explain.

However, the total number of women in the executive -management- committees, the so-called ‘organs of effective power’, barely reaches 19.66%. This gap is even more accentuated in relation to the presidencies of the groups. Of the 35 companies that fluctuate on the Ibex 35, only Marta Ortega (Inditex), Beatriz Corredor (Red Eléctrica de España) and Ana Botín (Banco Santander), hold the status of CEO.

From the company they also point to a “rejuvenating” effect in the sector of directors. In figures from the study, 27% of them are between 46 and 55 years old, which places this age range as the widest included in the document. Only 3% of directors are over 65 years old, while 7% are under 40.

The uncertainty surrounding fluctuations in the energy market was reflected in the appointment of directors. During the past year, 22% of the new profiles were appointed by electricity companies. However, the sector that makes the most appointments of new directors is the industrial sector, which brings together 23% of the positions.

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