French minister urges minimum quotas for female executives to boost their numbers

by Reuters
Monday, 18 January 2021 12:36 GMT

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks during a press conference in Paris, France January 14, 2021, on French government's current strategy for the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Thomas Coex/Pool via REUTERS

Image Caption and Rights Information

Only 17% of France's big companies have women on their board of directors

PARIS, Jan 18 (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday he favoured setting a minimum number for female executives at the top of France's biggest companies to increase their numbers.

Although big French companies had made progress boosting the number of women on their board of directors, they still made up only 17% of their executive committees, said Le Maire, who is also economy minister and can propose legislation on corporate governance issues.

Only one company on the key CAC-40 stock index of leading French firms is run by a female chief executive - Catherine MacGregor at energy group Engie.

"I find it infinitely regrettable and it shows that we haven't managed to break the glass ceiling," Le Maire told lawmakers at the lower house of parliament.

"I am in favour of quotas so that a bigger number of women attain executive positions in the biggest French companies," he added.

Le Maire said legislation would need to be passed between now and July before the run-up to a May 2022 presidential election starts to dominate the political agenda.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Bernadette Baum)