BHP boosts female representation at board

Mining giant BHP Billiton announced Friday a board reshuffle that includes the promotion of Baroness Shriti Vadera from a non-executive position to the role of senior independent director and member of the nomination and governance committee, effective immediately.

The miner also announced on Friday that it has hired Lloyds Banking Group deputy chairman Anita Frew as an independent non-executive director. BHP now has three women on its board, the other being former investment banker Carolyn Hewson.

Vadera, a former Labour party minister, becomes one of the most influential business women in the UK — she is also a non executive director at drugs giant and FTSE 100 member AstraZeneca and chairs of the UK division of Spanish bank Santander.

Britain’s biggest companies have been under pressure as of late to recruit women to more powerful executive jobs and so meet a meet the government-backed target.

According to a recent McKinsey report, women now hold 23.5% of FTSE 100 directorships, up from 22.8% last October and almost double the number in 2011 when the target was set.

But the mining sector has the lowest percentage of female members, the study says, with just 17% compared with 32% in the most w