Top positions in AEX companies are still occupied by men
A new law has been in force since the beginning of 2022, stipulating there must be a “balanced composition” of men and women on supervisory boards. Generally speaking, companies on the Amsterdam Exchange Index (AEX) meet this requirement. The problem still exists in top positions though, which are almost exclusively occupied by men, according to the European Investing site VEB.
Last week a breakthrough position was announced for Pauline van der Meer Mohr. She will become ASMI’s chair of the board. ASMI is a Dutch headquartered international company that specializes in design, manufacturing and sales. This is a promotion for Van Der Meer Mohr, who had been a supervisory director at the company since September last year. Unfortunately, stories like this are rare.
The VEB analyzed meeting agendas of AEX companies to assess progress in the planned changes of Executive and Supervisory Boards after the annual investor meeting and made three major observations. First, they found the number of women on the Supervisory Boards of AEX companies is slowly increasing.
Currently, 43 percent are women, but 10 of 21 new appointments to the boards will be women. In some companies such as Unilever and RELX, women predominate. Others such as JET, have women occupying just 30 percent of positions. This figure is below the percentage required by law, which is 33 percent. Consequently, the supervisory board has ruled that JET will have to fill their next commissioner position with a woman rather than a man for the next two appointments.
Furthermore, in 24 out of 25 AEX companies the president of the commission is a man. The outlier is newcomer, Universal Music Group.
However, change does seem to be brewing. At company Wolters Kluwer, American Ann Ziegler will take over from Frans Cremers. Cremers’ chair will be filled by Heleen Kersten, partner at Stibbe law firm. This is significant as it will make Wolters Kluwer the first company within the AEX to have both a female CEO, Nancy McKinstry, and a female chair of the board.
The pace of change is sluggish at the management level. Less than a fifth of Executive Directors of all 25 AEX companies are women (14 out of 79). Women are often not given titles such as CEO or CFO but take on roles as “Chief Business Marketer” like Marieke Snoep and “Chief People Officer” like Hilde Garssen, both working at KPN. Only four women at AEX companies hold ultimate responsibility for annual accounts.