Just 4% of the Index has a woman at the helm, 10 drawn from the family and 8 from outside. New entrants are marginally more likely to have a female CEO (6% compared with 3% of existing companies) but the numbers are too small to show any significant trend. This shows that family businesses are similar to Fortune 500 companies in CEO diversity: just under 5% of Fortune companies were run by a female CEO in 2018.
Interestingly, diversity may be an area where smaller companies are more progressive. In the 2018 EY Growth Barometer survey of some 400 middle-market family businesses (with revenues under US$3b), family-owned firms were significantly more likely, at 9%, than non-family firms (3%) to have a female CEO.
“As we establish this benchmark of both corporate governance and gender diversity in the Family Business Index,” says van Rij, “we will be able to track trends in the increasing participation of non-family members in the management of these businesses and, in time, we hope to see greater involvement of women in the future, too.”