CEO Champions discuss on women’s advancement

Deauville – For the second straight year a group of 32 CEOs and management officers came together in a private meeting to discuss how male and female leaders should continue to make progress on women’s advancement through specific and measurable actions.

“CEO Champions is a peer group coalition of CEO leaders of major international corporations that have come together for a dialogue with women corporate leaders with the specific outcome of being visible champions of women’s empowerment starting the minute we go back home” said James S. Turley, Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young, co-chair of the CEO Champions Initiative. “Tone at the top matters, commitment from the top matters, and this is a venue to make sure that those of us at the top are doing all that we can.”

The meeting, held during the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Deauville, France, resulted in eight commitments agreed upon by the CEOs:

§         Require executive search firms to bring equal slates of men and women

§         Create metrics to measure success rates of women on executive slates and action plans for those who are not successful

§         Set specific accountability measures for company leadership cascading through all levels

§         Increasing number of women in operating positions

§         Action plans to get to more equity reflecting that women are half of the population

§         Each CEO to invite one other CEO to next year’s discussion

§         Increase awareness of mindset biases and explore training programs with the goal of changing behavior

§         Ensure flexibility is changed from being a women’s issue to include all people – dialogue needs to be focused on output and performance


“This group is based on the principle that we need more action and we need more commitment,” said Olivier Fleurot, CEO of MSL Group. “What we are trying to change is 100 years of habits. It doesn’t happen over night, and that’s why we need committed CEOs to do it.”

“What matters the most for our success is innovation and that’s driven by diversity and inclusion of people and ideas. This is a room of companies from around the world, and it’s not what’s different but what we have in common that brings us together, which is a belief in inclusion and diversity and its impact on the bottom line,” said Molly Ashby, CEO of Solera Capital.

Dominique Reniche, President of the Europe Groupe of the Coca-Cola Company said, “We wanted to stop talking and start turning our ideas into actions, memorable actions. The first step is a very practical one – action starts at the top. You cannot transform a culture without support at the top.”

The CEO Champions who participated in the private meeting and agreed to the commitments include:

Molly Ashby, CEO, Solera Capital,Nicolas Aubert, Managing Director, Insurance Division, Chartis International,Philippe Castagnac, Co-CEO, Mazars, Olivier Charmeil, CEO & President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Sanofi-Aventis, Robert Cirillo, COO, Sodexo, Olivier Fleurot, CEO, MSLGROUP, John Foraker, CEO, Annie’s, Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan Alliance, Wendy Luhabe, Founder, Women’s Private Equity Fund, Olivier Marchal, CEO represented by Regional Managing Director EMEA, Bain & Company Véronique Morali, President, Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society Jean-Yves Naouri, Executive Chairman, Publicis Group Damien O’Brien, Chairman and CEO, Egon Zehnder International Dominique Reiniche, President Europe Group, The Coca-Cola Company. Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair, Ernst & Young

 The 7th Edition of the Women’s Forum Global Meeting will be held on 13-15 October 2011 in Deauville (France) and will gather 1,250 participants from 80 countries to discuss the theme “What if? Challenge, imagination, commitment.”

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