It's finally happened: Glencore has appointed a female director to its board

'Tis a felicitous day: the final FTSE 100 company has found a woman good enough to sit alongside the likes of Tony Hayward.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 30 Jul 2014

Crack out the party poppers and bake a cake: Glencore has finally found a woman it deems worthy of sitting on its board. It’s the last FTSE 100 firm to do so.

The company had to venture across distant waters to find the lucky lady, Canadian mining executive Patrice Merrin. A non-executive director of the US-based Stillwater Mining Company and former chief executive of Luscar, Canada’s largest thermal coal producer, Merrin has the dubious honour of sharing a boardroom with Tony Hayward, the disgraced former BP chief exec and now Glencore's chairman.

This appointment has been a long time coming: Glencore (or ‘Xcore’, as MT would far rather it had called itself after Glencore and Xstrata merged in 2012) has been under pressure from politicians and shareholders alike to hire a female director for months. At its annual general meeting in May, Aviva Investors said it would not approve its annual report and accounts because there were no women on the board, while Vince Cable warned that there was a ‘spotlight’ on the company.

Of course, this doesn’t automatically render the company off the hook. While the government has stopped short of imposing mandatory quotas, it has set a target for boards to be 25% women. The good news is that Glencore has eight board members, meaning it only has to find one more woman to hit the target. The bad news: it took three years to find this one. Come 2017, though, everything will be peachy...

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