Country needs more female finance chiefs

martingilbertsvgMartin Gilbert CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management has raised questions over why so few chief financial officers are female.

Speaking ahead of a diversity forum at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, Mr Gilbert highlighted that despite 60 per cent of the intake into the accountancy profession being female, only ten per cent make it as far as chief financial officer.

The Herald reports that he said: “Half of chief executive officers (CEOs) are appointed from being CFO and what I don’t understand is that only ten per cent of CFOs are women.”

“The chief financial officer is a very friendly role. It’s a mystery to me. It’s not like engineering where only ten per cent of the intake are woman. Accountancy is very neutral; I don’t understand where it goes wrong there.”

Aberdeen Asset Management has three women on its board, and Mr Gilbert said in the financial services industry it was at ‘chief’ level that UK companies were light.

Mr Gilbert added: “There’s an issue in what the Americans call the ‘c-suite’; it’s at that CEo, CFO, COO level that we need more women.”

Mr Gilbert expressed his delight at Ms Sturgeon joining speakers including CBI chief economist Rain Newton Smith; broadcaster Georgie Bingham and profession golfers alongside Aberdeen Asset Management ambassadors Cheyenne Woods and Catriona Matthew.

“It’s great that this country has a woman First Minister and clearly one of her passions is women in industry, women in sport and generally enhancing their participation; and it’s something we feel very strongly about,” said Mr Gilbert.

“Germany is run by a woman, the UK is run by a woman, the Queen is a woman, the Scottish First Minister, the head of the International Monetary Fund, you can go on and on. That’s why this conference is so important.”

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