CEO Champions commit to increasing global reach, sponsorship of high-potential women, and peer engagement at the Women's Forum Global Meeting in Deauville

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Deauville, 12 October 2012 – The CEOs taking part in the closed-door meeting at the 8th Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Deauville, France, focused on the importance of peer pressure and role models, and the need to create “visibility with teeth” by increasing global reach, creating an online coalition, and leveraging the power of sponsorship.

CEO Champions, an initiative created by the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society in collaboration with EY, today gathered some 30 CEOs and leaders to discuss current public and private sector approaches to the advancement of women into top corporate leadership roles.

They agreed that companies need to set targets from entry level to the most senior management, which should be visible, transparent, and involve strong incentives.

In addition, they agreed the following actions:

  • Increase global reach by connecting the dots with other coalitions and local groups, including convening a CEO Champions meeting at the second Women’s Forum Brazil to be held next June 17/18 in Sao Paulo
  • Create an online coalition and harness the power of social media to communicate a consistent and coordinated approach to gender diversity
  • Leverage the power of sponsorship to advance women within and outside their corporations

These actions build upon the work of the group over the last two years. This year’s meeting kicked off with a presentation on the global landscape around women’s advancement and the various models around the world that are in place to help drive progress.  Innovative approaches such as the UK’s 30% Club and Australia’s Male Champions for Change were highlighted, and key insights from these programs were incorporated into this year’s discussion.  The CEOs then broke into table discussions to discuss the role of the CEO in driving change and how to get more CEOs personally engaged in advancing women within their organizations and communities.

Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, EY, summed up the group’s collective insight: “The CEO Champions have become a global peer network where leaders can speak openly and honestly about challenges and opportunities in advancing women within their own organizations and in society.  This year, there was strong recognition that CEOs have a unique role to play in sponsoring high-potential women within their own organizations and advocating the business case for women’s advancement for career and Board opportunities.”

“These actions further define the role of the CEO in advancing progress. We came to a strong consensus that, in addition to our global network, we must all act individually to advance the agenda in our companies, countries and spheres of influence.”

Olivier Fleurot, CEO, MSLGROUP, said: “This is a business priority, not a nice-to-have. It’s a global problem that is recognized everywhere. We need to connect to other CEO peer groups committed to women’s advancement throughout the world, harnessing the power of social media to create a online coalition.”

Dominique Reiniche, President Europe Group, The Coca-Cola Company, said, "We are at a turning point. It's now time to scale fast. Not only through business coalitions but also hoistically, through government and civil society.”

Michel Landel, Group CEO, Sodexo, said: “We need to shake things up! Unless we set objectives and make our teams accountable for progress, the needle will not move sufficiently. At Sodexo, our objective is for 25% of our 300 senior executives to be women by 2015. Already we have seen progress, with a move from 16% in 2007 to 23% today.”

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO, France Telecom-Orange, said: “The CEO’s personal commitment is essential to make progress on gender equality in companies.”

Members of CEO Champions who attended CEO Champions include:

Beth Brooke (Global Vice Chair for Public Policy, EY);
Philippe Castagnac (CEO, Mazars);
Ora Fisher (Vice Chair, Latham & Watkins);
Olivier Fleurot (CEO, MSLGROUP);
Trina Gordon (President and CEO, Boyden);
Kathryn Hall (CEO and CIO, Hall Capital Partners);
Michel Landel (Group CEO, Sodexo);
Wendy Luhabe (Chairman, Women Private Equity Fund);
Nathalie Malige (CEO, Diverseo);
Olivier Marchal (Managing Director EMEA, Bain & Company);
Sandrine Devillard (Director (Senior Partner) in the Paris office of McKinsey & Company);
Veronique Morali (President, Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society);
Olivier Murguet (Senior Vice-President, Renault, and Chairman and CEO, Renault Brazil);
Jean-Yves Naouri (COO, Publicis Groupe and Executive Chairman, Publicis Worldwide);
Rosario Perez (President and CEO, Pro Mujer);
Alain Perroux (Head of Market Development, EY France);
Dominique Reiniche (President Europe Group, The Coca-Cola Company);
Stéphane Richard (Chairman and CEO, France Telecom-Orange);
Philippe Salle (Chairman and CEO, Altran);
Anne Whitaker (President, Sanofi’s Pharmaceutical, North America).

About CEO Champions

Created in 2010 by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in collaboration with Ernst &Young, CEO Champions groups CEOs and other C level executives who are personally committed to promoting women’s leadership within their organizations, and who seek to communicate broadly about the role of company leaders in creating broad ranging change.

Members of CEO Champions in 2012 include: Altran, Bain & Company, Baxter, Boyden, Diverseo, EY, France Telecom-Orange, Hall Capital Partners, Latham & Watkins, Mazars, McKinsey & Company, MSLGROUP, Pro Mujer, Publicis Groupe, Renault Nissan Alliance, Sanofi, Sodexo, Solera Capital, The Coca Cola Company, Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, Women Private Equity Fund.

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