The Fellowship of the FTSE 100: Susan Kilsby heads to Shire

The former Credit Suisse M&A supremo has been appointed to head the pharma company, doubling the number of FTSE 100 chairwomen.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 24 Jan 2014

Susan Kilsby has been appointed as chairwoman of pharmaceuticals company Shire, doubling the number of women chairing FTSE 100 firms – a grand total of two chips in the glass ceiling.

Kilsby, an American who headed up European mergers and acquisitions during 30 years at investment bank Credit Suisse, has been a non-exec director at Shire since September 2011, and headed up its audit committee since May.

She replaces the retiring Matthew Emmens, who chaired the company for almost six years after spending five as chief exec.

Alison Carnwath of Land Securities finally has some company at the top, although women are marginally better represented among FTSE 100 chief execs. With Liv Garfield due to become chief exec of Severn Trent this spring and Royal Mail joining the FTSE 100 under Moya Greene, there will still only be four female CEOs.

Shire, which is dual-listed in New York and London but has its HQ in Dublin, has been keen to branch out from attention-deficit disorder drug Vyvanse, which makes up almost a quarter of sales.  It bought rare disease drug maker ViroPharma for $4.2bn in November and sold its unprofitable wound-care division earlier this month.

With chief exec Flemming Ornskov’s ‘One Shire’ strategy continuing to shake up the company, having veteran deal-sealer Kilsby at the helm could mean Shire is hunting about for more acquisitions.

Kilsby is also a non-exec director of BBA Aviation, Coca-Cola HBC and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

FTSE 100 boards are now 20.4% women, with mining companies Glencore and Antofagasta the only companies left with no female directors. With those two sticking out like sore thumbs, MT hopes the same can’t be said for Carnwath and Kilsby for much longer.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime