European Commission - Press release
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton commits to EU gender balance target
Brussels, 12 July 2011 - LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton today signed the “Women on the Board Pledge for Europe”, voluntarily committing to increase women’s corporate boardroom presence to 30% by 2015 and to 40% by 2020. At the same time, three Greek companies (G. Kallimanis SA, G. Leoussis SA and Trofodotiki Aigaiou SA) and a Belgian company (Schellter Strategy Consulting) also set the example and became signatories of the Women Pledge.
Commenting on LVMH’s joining the Pledge, EU Justice Commissioner Reding said: "I very much welcome that LVMH has set a strong example by signing up to our EU targets for better gender balance on boards. LVMH is pursuing high standards and showing its strong commitment to gender balance and I strongly encourage other publicly listed companies to swiftly follow suit. Having more women on the board is crucial for business and good for the economy. It is time that all companies realise this and take action accordingly. I will evaluate where we stand in March 2012 and if I don't see any credible self-regulatory measures, I stand ready to take the necessary legislative measures at EU level."
Chantal Gaemperle, LVMH's Executive Vice President, responsible for Human Resources said: “Diversity is part of LVMH’s DNA and women are present at each and every level of the Company. This Pledge reflects LVMH’s commitment to the pursuit of the highest standards across all its activities. As a key driver of growth and innovation within the Cultural and Creative Industries in Europe, signing this EU Pledge is a natural milestone for the Group. We strongly support Commissioner Reding's approach to self-regulation for Gender equality and are delighted to demonstrate this with our engagement today.”
As Europe's population is ageing, women are crucial to meeting the Europe 2020 employment target of 75% (see IP/10/225). Joint efforts by governments, social partners and businesses are needed to improve the status quo.
Only 12% of members of the supervisory boards at Europe's largest companies are women and in 97% of cases the board is chaired by a man. Progress over the past years has been very slow: the share of female board members in the EU has increased by just over half a percentage point per year over the last seven years. At this rate, unless action is taken, it will take another 50 years before there is a reasonable gender balance (at least 40% of each sex) on supervisory boards. In the meantime, publicly-listed firms in the EU keep losing out on female talent.
On 1 March, EU Justice Commissioner Reding met chief executives and chairs of boards of publicly listed companies to discuss the under-representation of women on corporate boards. She challenged all publicly listed companies in Europe to sign up to the "Women on the Board Pledge for Europe" and commit voluntarily to increasing women's participation on corporate boards to 30% by 2015 and to 40% by 2020 (see IP/11/242 and MEMO/11/124).
The “Women Boardroom Pledge” is available on Vice-President Reding's website. It will help monitor how companies are working towards getting more women in top jobs. Every publicly listed company can sign the pledge and lead with a good example. In March 2012, the European Commission will re-assess the situation and decide on the next steps.
EU countries and companies have taken various measures to address the situation, ranging from “soft measures” such as corporate governance codes and charters to legislative measures, such as gender quotas (Norway, Iceland, Spain, France and recently The Netherlands, Italy and Belgium).
About the new signatories of the Women Pledge
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, known as LVMH, is a major French-based holding company, created in 1987, which oversees an international group of companies principally engaged in the production and sale of branded luxury wines, spirits, cosmetics, watches, perfume, jewellery, and fashion goods. LVMH also operates in the finance, music, art, publishing and trade businesses.
Key figures of Gender Equality at LVMH:
The Kallimanis Group of companies is a Greek brand active in the seafood market for the past 50 years. G. Leoussis SA, founded in 1978, is an export company as well as the exclusive representative for medical devices and pharmaceuticals in Greece and Cyprus. Trofodotiki Aigaiou SA (Attiki Administrative Region) is a local representative and wholesaler of supermarket products. Schellter Strategy Consulting is a Belgian-based management consultancy.
For more information
Women on the Board pledge:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:
European Commission database on women and men in decision-making: