Belfast Telegraph

Women in top jobs a work-in-progress

By Margaret Canning

It was this time last year, when preparations for our Top 100 publication were hotting up (as they now are for 2015's issue), that we began to give serious consideration to the issue of encouraging more women into the boardroom. The occasion of Janet McCollum's appointment as head of Moy Park marked the first time the number one company in Northern Ireland was helmed by a female.

There are others, including the head of Boots Chemist in Northern Ireland, Bernadette Lavery, Sara Venning, the chief executive of NI Water, Ellvena Graham, who leads Ulster Bank, Darina Armstrong, head of Progressive Building Society, and Elaine Birchall, the head of fast-moving consumer goods company, SHS Group.

An impressive rollcall and range of sectors for our women - banking, finance, groceries, utilities and retail.

And Budget Energy, which could eventually be a Top 100 company, is led by serial entrepreneur Eleanor McEvoy. She earned her entrepreneurial skills at Pembroke Distribution and Phonecard Warehouse.

It seems only manufacturing is lacking female input at the very top. And six out of 100 - in last year's countdown, at least - isn't bad, but it's not great, either. Another former Top 100 female leader, Catherine Mason, stepped down to be replaced by David Strahan at Translink, but now that he's swapping the boardroom for the pulpit, there could be room for another female leader...

Belfast Telegraph

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