Methodology and glossary

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EY identified the top 100 P&U companies by revenue, and commissioned an independent research company to investigate publicly accessible data to ascertain the structure of the companies, target specific positions and business units, and determine the percentage of board members that were women. Information sources include company websites, annual reports, other releases of a similar nature and data gathered directly from the company over email or telephone. This research was conducted in October and November 2013, and represents a snapshot accurate at the time.

EY then analyzed this data further to rank utilities in terms of gender diversity. The utilities were ranked on the basis of a weighted sum of the percentage of women in several positions. The weights were assigned to reflect the strategic importance of having women in prominent positions. The weights assigned were: Executive board member: 5 points; Senior management team: 4 points; Non-executive board member/independent director: 3 points; Business unit leader: 2 points; Audit: 1 point.


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.

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 category 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.

Corporate structure: For comparison purposes, we have assumed that the standard corporate structure is that of a unitary company, with a single senior management team, a single (if sometimes overlapping) board of directors and below these, a series of business units broken down by function. Some of the utilities in our Top 100 have notably different structures, for example, business units organized on a territorial rather than functional basis.

In such cases, we have sourced data for the chief executive (or equivalent) of the subsidiary company and included this person within the parent firm’s senior management team.

SMT - Senior management team: The executive management of the company, including the chief executive officer and chief financial officer 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 so as to avoid double counting.

Subsidiaries: We have not included subsidiaries in this index, as we focused on only the very senior management of the companies in question. However, we have made exceptions in the case of those managers who have a role both with the subsidiary and on the parent company’s senior management team. This is particularly relevant for US companies, many of which have this leadership structure.

Classifications used for senior management teams

Classification Examples
Communications and corporate affairs Consumer Relations, Public Relations, Corporate Affairs
Finance Finance Officer, Audit, Accounting, Treasurers
HR Human Resources, People and Culture
IT Information, Integration, Innovation
Legal and compliance Chief Counsel, Company Secretary, Compliance Officer
Strategy Corporate Strategy, Group Strategy, Chief Executive, President
Subsidiary leadership Heads of subsidiaries are on the board of the subsidiary company and in the SMT of the parent company, but not on the board of the parent company
Value Chain Transmission, Generation, Distribution, Trading, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Supply Officer, Commercial, Purchasing