What Others are Saying About Us

The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Programmes have built an international reputation as a prominent initiative going to the heart of the issues of women’s under-representation at senior corporate level. They have been acknowledged in many publications, and by international and national governments, as making an important contribution to bringing about change. Here are some examples of what has been said:

Harvard Business Review published the Report on the Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Last Glass Ceiling (2010). In this report, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and colleagues describe the work of the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme and the elements that make it successful.

The European Commission, in a paper Gender Balance in Business Leadership (2011) highlighted the elements it believed necessary to achieve gender balance within enterprises. These included encouraging career development of women through coaching and mentoring. The FTSE Programme was acknowledged as making a strong contribution in this field:

"One successful mentoring programme to help senior female managers advance to board membership is the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Programme, under which CEOs and Chairs of some of the UK’s largest companies mentor senior female managers."

The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union published its Women on Boards report and recommendations (November 2012) ahead of the publication by the EU Commission of a draft Directive on quotas. The Committee mentioned the FTSE Programme as the most prominent intervention of its kind and recommended that the Government support it. Copies of the relevant paragraphs of the Report are incorporated here:

  Paragraph 130:   "There have already been positive efforts on both fronts. In the United Kingdom, the business and executive search communities have taken the lead, with initiatives in place to develop female candidates by providing opportunities to gain visibility, exposure and confidence. One aspect of this is mentoring – "a big issue" for The Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE. The most prominent such scheme is the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Scheme. This matches Chairs and Chief Executives of FTSE 100 companies, or their equivalents in the public sector, with appropriate candidates for mentoring. There have been 94 participants in the programme since 2003. In the last two years alone, 14 were appointed as non-executive directors, and there are plans to expand its reach more widely." and

  Paragraph 170:   "…The Government should use their influence to support the expansion of the best initiatives that emerge, such as the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Programme, filling gaps in funding where appropriate."


In a recent letter, Jo Swinson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, wrote:

"The work you are undertaking strikes at the heart of the Coalition Agreement’s pledge to promote gender equality on the boards of UK plc and your new Pipeline Programme should help to break down those barriers preventing more women reaching the boardroom."

Jo Swinson, MP

In the House of Commons a question on progress with the European Union’s proposed Directive on quotas was tabled by Sarah Newton MP, who particularly asked the Minister to welcome the new Pipeline Programme. The transcript from Hansard of the discussion and reference to the Programme is set out here:

Female Board Members (Quotas)

  Question 17. Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con):
What progress has been made on the EU Commission proposal to impose quotas for women on boards?

  The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Jo Swinson):
The European Commission is considering what proposals to make to increase the number of women on boards. I expect an announcement shortly, perhaps as early as next week. It is an important issue. I want to see more women on boards on merit. As the House will know, the UK’s voluntary business-led approach is working well, with significant increases in women on boards in FTSE 100 companies.

  Sarah Newton:
I thank my Hon. Friend for her answer, but does she agree that it is also important that we focus on the pipeline of talented women? Does she welcome the pilot initiative by the Mentoring Foundation which offers women at the junior end of senior management mentoring support from senior women executives who themselves have been mentored by FTSE chief executives?

  Jo Swinson:
My Hon. Friend is absolutely right about the pipeline issue. It is vital that we encourage businesses and organisations to develop talented individuals. If an organisation is viewed as a pyramid, there are good numbers of men and women at the base of the pyramid, but higher up the number of women falls away, and mentoring schemes are an excellent way to address that. The Women’s Business Council is also looking at this issue, and the Government’s initiative “Think, Act, Report” encourages companies to put in place schemes to ensure that they develop the talent within their organisations and address the pipeline issue.


Press Reports

Articles include:

Financial Times: Women and the Workplace, October 18th, 2012 "Partnerships learn to expect the unexpected," which featured interviews with two of our Executive Programme mentoring pairs: Sir Stuart Rose, Chair, Ocado plc and Dr. Emma FitzGerald, Vice President, Global Retail Network, Shell International Ltd, and Kevin Sneader, Managing Partner, UK & Ireland, McKinsey and Co., and Sarah Breeden, Senior Advisor, Financial Stability, Bank of England.

Financial Times: February 23rd, 2012 "The groundswell feels irreversible," featuring a discussion between Peninah Thomson, The Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE and two of our Mentors, Ian Powell, Chair and Senior Partner, PwC LLP and Sir Philip Hampton, Chair, Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc.