Aston Martin Wants Women on Its Board of Directors Before Going Public
The U.K. government wants businesses to ensure 33 percent female directors by 2020.
British luxury sports car company Aston Martin is trying to add at least one woman to its board before the upcoming London IPO goes public. According to Bloomberg, Aston Martin Holdings (U.K.) Ltd. will be one of only 10 companies in the country’s FTSE 350 stock market index to have an all-male boardroom should it fail to add a woman to its current board of nine male directors.
The incentive to shift course from all-male boardrooms in the U.K. comes from U.K. Parliament member Lord Davies and his 2011 Women on Boards agenda, attempting to fill 25 percent of board positions with women by 2015, and doubling down on that agenda in 2015 to ensure at least 33 percent of directors are women by 2020.
“Looking back to 2011, I could not have predicted British business would have embraced the Women on Boards agenda as they have, or indeed that the 25% target would have been achieved 6 months ahead of schedule,” said Davies in 2015. ”This is truly amazing progress. I cannot thank the many, many businessmen and businesswomen enough for their significant and collective contribution. It has been a privilege to lead this campaign.”
While this is merely a plea on behalf of the government, and non-adherence carries with it no direct consequences, Aston Martin has been noticeably attempting a shift toward more female customers in recent years and will likely pivot that effort toward its own boardroom, as well.
For Aston Martin, it was the realization that only 3,500 of its vehicles were purchased by women by 2015. That’s a measly five percent, and a figure that created a change of course that resulted in that year’s DBX crossover vehicle, which was aimed squarely at the company’s female demographic. Aston Martin doubled down in October of 2015, and hired Laura Schwab as the president of its Americas region.
In March, we reported that half of Aston Martin’s V12 coupe sales in China were to women. At the time, VP Simon Sproule was quite enthusiastic at the prospect of shifting focus and prioritizing the need for more women in the industry. “What we can say with fact, is we are now seeing more women as the outright owners and main drivers of the car,” he said. “In certain markets, we’re seeing quite an extraordinary swing towards female buyers.”
As it stands, Aston Martin has only a few weeks left to actively change the representation in the boardroom. Focusing on female customers has proven to be a wise business move, and one that’ll garner the company some surface-level respect for the time being. As for the government’s urging for a 33 percent rate of female directors, should Aston Martin heed the call, female representation won't merely be relegated to the company's customer transactions, but in its corporate business strategies, as well.