Fidelio Update – "A Seat at the Table" Diverse Boards = Weatherproofing for the Future

London, 7th November 2016 – Corporate Boards face unprecedented disruption and change. Key challenges include lack of political stability; an increase in anti-business sentiment; and technology subverting most business models. Diversity around the Boardroom table is a legitimate response. Fidelio’s “A Seat at the Table Programme has won acclaim in promoting Board-level gender diversity; it also embraces the recommendations of the Parker Review on ethnic diversity in UK Boardrooms. Board-level diversity is a key tool in weatherproofing companies for the future.

Fidelio has previously noted how Brexit and the rise of populism in the US has wrong-footed the business community – see Fidelio’s “Brexit and the Implications for Board Composition”. Lack of diverse perspective in the Boardroom has become a key business risk; it may be late in the day but, across most major markets, Boards are now seeking to attract directors who will add value to the business and be able to challenge conventional thinking.

In every Board assignment, be it Search, Development or Evaluation, Fidelio drives diversity of thinking, methodology and outcome. This extends to Fidelio’s A Seat at the Table Programme, now on its fourth iteration. Its purpose is to establish a pipeline of talented female directors, both executive and non-executive, ensuring a seat and a voice at the top table.  The Programme does not shy from key challenges for business, including: what do millennials want from employers; how does one remain relevant as a director in the face of digital disruption; how to narrow the gender pay gap?

In March 2017, A Seat at the Table participants will also tackle the uncomfortable findings of the recently published Parker review, A Report into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards: for FTSE 100 Boards “UK citizen directors of colour represent only about 1.5% of the total director population”; “53 out of the FTSE 100 companies do not have any directors of colour” and “seven companies account for over 40% of the directors of colour”. Following the methodology of the Davies Review, the Parker Review recommends that by 2021 each FTSE 100 Board should have at least one director of colour, as should FTSE 250 Boards by 2024.

While Fidelio’s A Seat at the Table programme has a primary focus on gender diversity, it is predicated upon a firmly held belief that diversity is good for Boards and for company performance – see Credit Suisse’s 2014 Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management and McKinsey’s 2015 Why Diversity Matters.  Moreover, within the framework of gender diversity, A Seat at the Table has welcomed senior women from a range of backgrounds.

Thirteen sectors have been represented on the Programme to date from alternative investment management through to publishing and education; from online banking through to aeronautical engineering, pharmaceuticals and extractives. Different types of organisations are also represented: leading quoted US, European and UK corporates, including global companies listed on the FTSE 100; governmental agencies; non-profit organisations and International Governmental Organisations. International representation has been strong; over 50% of participants to date have been from outside the UK or have international backgrounds and ca. 10%, with an upward trend, are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Through all our Board activities, including Search, Evaluation and, of course, the A Seat at the Table Programme, Fidelio remains deeply committed to developing a more diverse pipeline for the CEOs, Boards and Chairmen of tomorrow – a critical component of weatherproofing companies for the future.

Boards that embrace gender and ethnic diversity benefit in their decision making by leveraging off the array of skills, experiences and diverse views within such a team.

Sir John Parker, A Report into the the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards, 2nd November 2016

Registration is underway for Fidelio’s fourth “A Seat at the Table Programme for senior female executives and directors on Tuesday 14th– Wednesday 15thMarch 2017 at Leeds Castle, Kent. For further details please contact Emily Baker.

To discuss succession planning for your Board or Executive leadership team, please contact Gillian Karran-Cumberlege, or alternatively call +44 (0) 207 759 2200.

Notes to Editors:

The Programme – A Seat at the Table is a unique two day programme around the Board table providing insight into complexity and Board effectiveness, as well as the route to the Boardroom. The goal is to increase female representation at the Top Table and develop tomorrow’s female CEOs and Chairmen.  Participants are Senior Female Executives and Directors with extensive leadership experience along with the ambition and potential to become highly effective Board Directors. To date we have welcomed women from leading FTSE 100 and international companies – including from the US, continental Europe and Africa.

Participants in A Seat at the Table” leave with practical tools to help them succeed, including:

  • a framework for understanding leadership structures and styles;
  • a mirror for personal presence including within a group dynamic; and
  • a road map of critical networks and milestones, in order to achieve their professional and personal objectives.
A Seat at the Table – the feedback:
  • very rich in content, a great blend of technical aspects, softer skills and confidence building … An excellent Board readiness programme”  – CEO, Major Subsidiary, Global Financial Services Company
  • “practically narrowed the gap between my current position and the Board […] demystifying being on the Board” – Head of Leadership and Learning, Multinational Industrial Company
  • the best concentrated injection of development and learning that I have ever had … It hits the mark perfectly” – FTSE 100 Group HR Executive

Enrolment has begun for a limited number of places for the Tuesday 14th – Wednesday 15thMarch 2017 A Seat at the Table Programme.

The delegate enrolment fee is £7,500 plus VAT for this two day residential programme at Leeds Castle, Kent, UK.

About Fidelio
Fidelio Partners is an international Board Development and Executive Search consultancy. We build and develop leadership teams that are well placed to handle complexity and change, and are strongly positioned to engage with shareholders and stakeholders. Through Search and Development we build leadership teams that are effective in:

  • Sustaining corporate reputation and maintaining the licence to operate
  • Securing on-going access to capital
  • And thereby increasing the value of the business

Diversity is hardwired into every aspect of Fidelio’s approach to building and developing leadership teams. Fidelio is recognised for its fresh thinking and providing practical solutions for Chairmen and CEOs in meeting this vital challenge.
Our highly qualified, in-house research capability is based in London and delivers Search and Development internationally.
Fidelio is committed to building diverse and highly effective Boards and Executive teams. For further information please visit our website: Fidelio Partners Board Development and Executive Search or contact

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