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Royal Mail pushes for more female UK FTSE CEOs

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Greene is suggesting that the UK should aim for 25 female CEOs in the UK FTSE 100 by 2025.

In a speech held in conjunction with the initiative ’25 by 25′, she blamed cultural and societal expectations in everyday life for blunting the aspirations of too many talented young women who also need to raise their sights. 

“One of the most important things to do is to help women take ownership of their ambition and aspirations. It’s still disappointing when you see how young women view their ambition – and how others view that ambition,” said Greene. “To be a CEO it’s really hard work and you really have to want to do it. For women, even in 2014, that can be a problem.

“I don’t think you can expect boards to change the executive pipeline because it’s not really their job – they don’t have all the reins at their disposal that the executive team has,” she explained. “I have committed to take the same chances with talented women I see that were taken with me, and so 30 per cent of my executive team is female.”

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, a senior adviser on talent to Egon Zehnder and author of “It’s Not the How or the What but the Who”, a new book on the changing nature of leadership, explains that “we all have a brain which is a piece of hardware not updated for thousands of years, during which people decisions have been made on the basis of similarity, familiarity and comfort. This model is now totally outdated and if you want diversity then it’s the opposite of similarity, familiarity and comfort.”

“I am convinced we’re seeing the dawn of a new era in talent spotting in which there will be a very significant focus instead on potential – potential to meet very different challenges which lie ahead. Placing more emphasis on potential is the key to success for women.”

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