Bernard Arnault and the men in the boardroom at LVMH can say goodbye to being members of an executive boy’s club. The company announced today that it has signed a voluntary pledge to promote more women to senior executive positions, and aims to increase the number of women on its corporate boards to 30 percent by 2015. By 2020, the number should reach 40 percent.
Women at the company — which owns Sephora, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, among other fashion and beauty brands — currently represents some 17 percent of LVMH’s top corporate jobs. The company signed the agreement with European Justice Commisioner Viviane Reding, who discovered that although some 60 percent of European university graduates are women, only 12 percent of board members at Europe’s largest companies are women. That number shrinks to three percent when you’re counting the proportion of female CEOs there are on the continent.
Reding and LVMH’s executive vice president of human resources Chantal Gaemperle told Women’s Wear Daily that in addition to creating a fairer work environment, having more women at the helm will make the company perform better. Reding cited research that has proven women tend to make better managers and shot-callers than men.
“If you exaggerate a little, you could say that if there had been a Lehman Sisters, there would have been no global economic crisis. If you read the studies of Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, that is their conclusion, because women allow companies to avoid making big mistakes, because they ask more questions and expect answers,” Reding said.
Who run the world? Girls.