Methodology and glossary

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Our research team identified the largest 200 global utilities by revenue and investigated the number of men and women on the board of directors as well as the in senior management teams. Information sources included company websites, annual reports, secondary sources and databases and data gathered directly from the company by email or telephone. The research was conducted in September 2014 and refined for the top 20 utilities in December 2014 and represents a snapshot accurate at that time.
To create the diversity index, we ranked the utilities using a weighted index that favored women in executive positions. Executive board members received the highest weighting, followed by senior management team, non-executive board member/independent director, business unit leader and audit.
This year there were two changes to our methodology:

  1. We expanded the breadth of the utilities surveyed: we increased the number of utilities we ranked from 100 (2014) to 200 (2015 and going forward). This introduced a wider geographical spread and made regional comparisons possible.
  2. We reduced the volatility created by small changes in board composition: although we continued the same principle of weighting positions in favor of executive positions as outlined above, we narrowed its range from 5 points (used in 2014) to 1 point (used in 2015). Therefore, the diversity scores for 2014 are not directly comparable to the 2015 scores. The impact of this change did not alter the rankings greatly, but we believe it provides a fairer and more balanced picture of women in the boardroom and will minimize the volatility from future changes in board members. 

We are confident that these changes have improved the quality of our index and have provided an evenhanded evaluation of the current state of gender diversity on boards within the P&U industry.


Board: This is the body charged with overseeing the actions of the firm’s executive management in the interests of the owners of the company. In the case of private companies, this includes independent representatives appointed directly by shareholders. In the case of state-owned companies, this may include political appointees. In some countries, the board is termed the Supervisory Board (as distinct from the Management Board) and includes employee representatives.

Board executive: The person (or people) responsible for the day-to-day management of the organization who has a seat on the board, typically the CEO.

BU - Business units: This refers to how the company is organized below the level of the senior management team and the board. For the purposes of this research, we looked at people heading the business units involved in the following activities: generation, transmission and distribution, retail, trading and customer. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of business units within a company. Where companies have more business units than those listed we have only sourced those falling broadly into the above categories.

Non-executive director (also called external director, independent director or outside director): is a member of a company’s board of directors who is not part of the executive team. A non-executive director typically does not engage in the day-to-day management of the organization, but is involved in policy making and planning exercises.

SMT - Senior management team: The executive management of the company including the CEO and CFO or equivalent roles (such as Executive Director, Managing Director). Typically this group will comprise 5 to 10 individuals with ultimate responsibility for the day-to-day running of the company. In some countries, such as Germany, this group is formally constituted into a Management Board.

If women were members of both the SMT and the board, they were included as board members but not included in the SMT group for percentage purposes, to avoid double counting.