Monday 16 September 2019

'Governments too focused on gender diversity' - former Lloyds Banking chairman

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Shafi Musaddique

Governments have been too focused on gender diversity initiatives in the workplace and must start concentrating on other marginalised groups, the former chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Sir Win Bischoff, has said.

Speaking to NEDonBoard, a membership organisation for non-executive directors, Sir Win said "we’ve all focused very much on diversity being gender diversity".

He said that was "a very good first step" but that it had to "go beyond that, ultimately".

Sir Win, currently chairman of the UK Financial Reporting Council, said globalisation has put greater emphasis on companies having a diverse workforce – but that it was down to those at board level to achieve that.

"The board has to set the culture. It’s very important that the board does it", he said.

"Obviously the CEO and the management team ideally agree with it, but ultimately it is for the board to set the culture and then for the CEO and his executive committee and the people lower down to carry it out".

Sir Win said he believes cultural change in the workplace is easily embraced by those at the bottom of organisations in entry level jobs – often young graduates – and by those in senior executives, but often comes stuck in middle management.

"There’s a whole middle level which is very, very important, which is the substance of the company, and when you change the culture you’ve got to take them along with you and that’s much more difficult," he said.

A study in August warned that a lack of ethnic diversity in UK boardrooms could harm the country’s ability to do trade deals after Brexit.

It also showed that the FTSE 100’s most senior managers are ethnically less diverse now than they were in 2014.

Independent News Service

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