Glencore appoints Canadian as its first ever female director

Glencore appoints Canadian as its first female director

Commodity trader and mining giant Glencore (LON:GLEN) has appointed Canadian Patrice Merrin as its first female board director, ending its status as being the only company with no women sitting at the top table.

Merrin, 65, is a veteran to the industry. She worked at Canadian miner Sherritt for a decade before becoming chief executive of her country's largest thermal coal producer Luscar.

Glencore appoints Canadian as its first female director

Patrice Merrin (Image from Linkedin)

She is also a director of precious metals mining company Stillwater and has been proposed as director of MFC Industrial and Cliff Natural Resources.

Business leaders welcomed the move, qualifying it of a “breakthrough” of “enormous significance.”

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said today was a historic day for the FTSE and for the reforms he has pursued to encourage more diversity in the talent running the Britain’s biggest companies, Reuters reports.

Beyond the fact that Glencore will no longer be seen as a bastion of corporate masculinity, many think the Swiss miner’s decision matters for several additional reasons. A recent study by Credit Suisse shows that companies with at least some women representation on the board outperformed those with no females in terms of share price performance. Fortune 500 companies with the highest rates of women board directors achieved considerably higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation, according to Catalyst’s most recent report.

Merrin’s appointment comes a few weeks after Glencore ended a long search for a chairman by picking Tony Hayward, and completes an overhaul of its board.

Top image by iofoto