Twenty-four female executives of leading EMEA companies have been identified as having the leadership traits for top level C-suite positions. The WeQual Awards (www.wequal.com/awards) identify already successful senior women who are one level below C-suite, and are aimed at tackling the slow progress in appointing women to executive roles.
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Katie Litchfield Founder CEO, WeQual (Photo: Business Wire)
A quarter of the winners of previous UK and US WeQual Awards have since been promoted to the executive committees of FTSE and Fortune 500 companies.
"The glass-ceiling concept has been an issue for decades, and the drop-off is steepest just below the C-suite, so I launched WeQual to champion gender equality at the top," says Katie Litchfield, founder and CEO of WeQual.
The EMEA finalists are from a wide range of sectors and companies, including Orange, Unilever, Schneider Electric, Bayer Consumer Health, ENGIE, KCB Group, Sodexo, Enel Group, L'Oréal, Mondi Group, Bureau Veritas, Standard Chartered, Veolia Environnement, Ericsson, Fresenius Medical Care, AkzoNobel, Ooredoo Qatar, Danone, Aryzta.
The 24 finalists were assessed against seven criteria: Leadership, Cognitive Ability, Integrity, Drive Resilience, Equality, Knowledge of the Business, and Personal Development. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application.
Eight executive interviewers will hold 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in their category before each choosing a category winner: Brand Innovation, Commercial Performance, Digital Impact, Finance, Head of Region, People Excellence, Strategy Development, and Transformational Leadership.
The finalists will be announced in December 2020.
Among supporters of the awards are Ann Cairns, Executive Chair of Mastercard and Global Chair of the gender equality campaign group '30% Club'; Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Barclays; Dame Inga Beale; and Ron Kalifa OBE of Network International. They are part of a roster of well-known C-suite executives who will now choose eight category winners.
Sir Ian Cheshire says: "These awards are among the first to target women at this level. We believe building awareness of these talented people, as well as connecting them to each other, is an important step in improving diversity at top levels of business."
This senior group of 24 executives will become members of the WeQual Club and join the existing 72 senior FTSE and Fortune 500 female executives.
Notes to editors
Methodology: The eight assessment questions were developed from a research-based meta-analysis of the factors and characteristics that mark leaders as different from non-leaders (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). They were designed to help the women best describe how they deliver on leadership characteristics and how they are seen by others as a leader, and indeed engage people who see them as fit to lead.
WeQual's mission is to make businesses more inclusive by identifying exceptional women executives and address the gender imbalance across the world's Executive Committees. Katie Litchfield, founder and CEO of WeQual Awards, devised the new platform which calls for women senior executives to build their case as to why they are deserving to be appointed to the Executive Committee.
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