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‘Absolute nonsense’: Only 12 female CEOs in Australia’s biggest 200 companies

The number of women leading ASX200 companies is dwindling. (Source: Getty)

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It’s often said that there are more men named Peter, David or John occupying the most senior positions at Australia’s biggest corporations – more than the total number of women in those roles.

And the number of women leading ASX200 companies isn’t improving – in fact, it’s getting worse, according to the 2019 Chief Executive Women (CEW) ASX200 Senior Executive Census released today.

“With few exceptions, progress towards gender balance at the executive level is slow, and at the very top it has gone backwards,” said CEW president Sue Morphet.

“Twelve CEO roles are held by women across the ASX200, down from 14 in 2018.

“And of the 25 new CEOs appointed over the past year, only two were women, and 23 were men.”

Just 6 per cent of ASX200 CEOs are women. (Source: CEW)

More women are needed at the CEO level among ASX200 companies in order to drive better gender balance across other key leadership positions, such as chief operating officer or group executive.

“While it is a small sample, the Census indicates that companies with a woman CEO have greater gender balance in their line roles compared to companies led by a man,” Morphet said.

The number of women in CFO roles has risen to 16 per cent from 12 per cent last year, revealing “encouraging progress,” she added.

But there are still 17 of Australia’s biggest companies that don’t have a single woman on their executive leadership team.

“That 17 companies in the top 200 don't have one woman in their whole workforce good enough to go to senior executive level is nonsense, absolute nonsense,” Morphet told SMH.

Who are the 12 women leading ASX200 companies in 2019?

  1. Shemara Wikramanayake – Macquarie Group

  2. Elizabeth Gaines – Fortescue Metals

  3. Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz – Mirvac

  4. Jayne Hrdlicka – The A2 Milk Company

  5. Alison Watkins – Coca-Cola Amatil

  6. Jolie Hodson – Spark New Zealand

  7. Marnie Baker – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

  8. Jeanne Johns – Incitec Pivot

  9. Katie Page – Harvey Norman

  10. Kate McKenzie – Chorus

  11. Margaret Kennedy – Viva Energy

  12. Amanda Lacaze – Lynas

Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit is on the 26th of September 2019 at the Shangri-La, Sydney. Check out the full line-up of speakers and agenda for this groundbreaking event here and buy tickets here.

The inaugural Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit will launch on September 26 in Sydney's Shangri-La.