27 May 2021
ASX giants commit to gender diverse leadership
ANZ and BHP are among the first 10 ‘trail blazer’ companies to sign up for the investor-led 40:40 Vision initiative and commit to achieving gender balance in the ranks of their senior leadership within the decade.
Launched late last year, 40:40 Vision has already had companies with a market capitalisation worth collectively close to $300bn, or 13 per cent of the index, sign up to lead the way in improving gender diversity among Australia’s corporate leadership.
Other companies making up the first 10 signatories include BlueScope, Domino’s, IGO, Ramsay Health Care, SkyCity, South32, Tabcorp and Webjet.
By signing up to the 40:40 Vision companies pledge to achieve gender balance of 40 per cent identifying as women, 40 per cent identifying as men and 20 per cent any gender in their executive leadership by 2030. Signatory companies have also committed to publicly set gender targets for 2023 and 2027, disclose plans for meeting these targets and report progress annually.
HESTA CEO and 40:40 Vision Steering Committee Chair Debby Blakey welcomed the signatories and said it was encouraging to see such strong corporate recognition of the urgent need to improve gender diversity.
“Changing our national culture cannot be achieved without courageous leadership. This must involve more women in leadership as well as men who value the perspective they bring,” Ms Blakey said.
“It’s very encouraging to see some of our nation’s largest companies make a strong commitment to increasing the number of women on boards and in executive positions,” Ms Blakey said.
“By creating more equitable and inclusive workplaces, these companies will reap the rewards, because there’s compelling evidence that better gender balance in leadership is not just fairer, but also good for business – resulting in better performance, better profits and better corporate governance.”
“This shows the positive outcomes that can be achieved through constructive engagement between investors and companies. As investors, we share a common goal with companies of improving long-term performance and gender diversity is an important part of that."
“Improving the gender balance in major companies benefits HESTA members’ investments and also improves retirement outcomes for women through the availability of more career opportunities,” Ms Blakey said.
ANZ Chief Executive Officer, Shayne Elliott said: “For ANZ to be a thriving, successful company now and into the future we have to recruit and develop the most talented people, which means staying open-minded about how we do that.
“Not only will we continue to attract great talent to our organisation, but our team will better reflect the community we live in, including more women in leadership roles, and committing to the 40:40 Vision helps reinforce that focus,” he said.
BHP CEO Mike Henry said “Inclusive, diverse teams are safer, more productive, and make better decisions. They improve performance. Since announcing in 2016 our goal to be gender balanced across BHP by 2025, we have increased the proportion of women working at BHP by nearly two thirds, and are now at over 27% overall. BHP has a balanced senior executive team and we support the 40:40 Vision and the goal of achieving gender balanced corporate leadership in Australia.”
Global company Ramsay Health Care was the first ASX listed company to join the initiative. Ramsay’s Group Chief People Officer Colleen Harris said: “Ramsay Health Care has a strong record of embracing diversity and promoting women into leadership roles. By supporting the 40:40 Vision initiative, we hope to encourage other ASX200 companies to achieve gender equality.
“Globally, we are a significant employer of women, and we have long been committed to having strong female representation at all levels of the organisation. In Australia, 59 per cent of our hospital and facility CEOs are women and 60 per cent of our regional executives are women.”
Quotes attributable to 40:40 Vision signatories:
Peter Bradford, Managing Director and CEO, IGO
“IGO has long advocated the benefits of diversity and inclusion in our business and we believe that better gender balance in leadership is not only the right thing to do but is also good for business. We are proud that IGO is showing strong leadership in this area with female representation on both our Board of Directors and on our Executive Leadership Team currently at 37.5 per cent. By joining the 4040 Vision, we are committing to making our path to progress more transparent.”
Graham Kerr, CEO, South32
“South32 is committed to improving gender balance at every level of our organisation. Our goal is to have a workforce that represents the countries and communities where we operate and supporting the 40:40 Vision helps us achieve this.
Our work to achieve equality is critical. By improving gender balance, we can access a wider talent pool, improving the outcomes for our business.”
Shelley Beasley, Webjet Limited Global COO and CEO – B2C Division
“Webjet Limited is incredibly proud to be among the first 10 signatories for the 40:40 Vision Initiative. The work of this forward-thinking group has the full support of the Webjet Limited board and company leadership, and we are delighted to make the public pledge to achieving gender balance and diversity in our executive leadership by 2030. The value that gender diversity – and diversity in all aspects – brings to a company, its shareholders, its culture and its employees has long been recognised by Webjet, and our signing of the 40:40 Vision Initiative is testament of our commitment to continuing the progression of gender diversity in the workplace. We look forward to helping drive this change within the broader corporate landscape.”
Michael Ahearne, Chief Executive, SkyCity
“We’ve taken the 40:40 Vision pledge and we’re calling on Australasia’s biggest companies to do the same, drive real change and reap the benefits of having fairer, more inclusive workplaces and stronger business performance.”
Don Meij, Group CEO and Managing Director, Domino’s
“At Domino’s, our purpose is to bring people closer. To break down barriers and connect communities through the world’s best bonding food. We believe that to do this, our business must accurately reflect the communities in which we operate – which means having gender equality at all levels, but particularly in our senior leadership team.
Late last year, we announced our goal to have 40% female, 40% male and 20% either gender representation at our Board, Global Leadership and Country Leadership levels by 2030. We’ve thrown further support behind this goal by taking the 40:40 Vision Pledge – and are calling on other Australian companies to do the same.
Because it’s the differences in who we are, and how we think, that makes our business stronger. And more importantly, because it’s the right thing to do. This is the next step, not the final step, and we look forward to sharing more as we progress on this journey.”
David Attenborough, Managing Director & CEO, Tabcorp
“We are committed to being a visible inclusion and diversity leader in our industry and an employer of choice. We know the advantages of being a truly diverse and inclusive organisation and are committed to policies and practices to achieve this.”