Eight businesswomen holding prominent executive roles in leading companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been named as winners in the annual WeQual Awards (www.wequal.com/awards).
The WeQuals identify and recognise world-class women executives, one level below the group C-suite, and are designed to promote diversity and gender equality within the group executive committees of EMEA’s largest companies.
The eight winners were selected from a shortlist of 24 finalists. The successful award holders are employed in Aryzta, Bayer Consumer Health, Bureau Veritas, Fresenius Medical Care, Ooredoo Qatar, Sodexo, Standard Chartered Bank and Unilever.
Katie Litchfield, Founder and CEO of WeQual, says: “WeQual identifies already successful senior women who are qualified to be appointed to the group C-suite. Our mission is to tackle the slow progress in appointing diverse women to executive roles and highlight successes where they occur.
“The glass-ceiling concept has been an issue for decades, and the drop-off is steepest just below the group C-suite, so it is important to champion gender equality at the top.”
The awards come at an important time for women in business. The global Covid-19 pandemic is in danger of pushing back opportunities for women to be appointed to the most senior positions. “The fact that we are able to celebrate the achievements of these women in major companies at this time sets a shining example to others,” says Katie Litchfield.
The winners are:
- Bola Adesola: Senior Vice-Chairman, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria. Head of Region Category.
- Dr Cora Koppe-Stahrenberg: Executive Vice President, Global Head of Human Resources, Fresenius Medical Care, Germany. People Excellence Category.
- Munera AL-Dosari: Chief Strategy Officer, Ooredoo Qatar. Strategy Development Category.
- Patricia Amaro: Digital Hub and E-commerce Director, Unilever, Spain. Digital Impact Category.
- Patricia Corsi: Global Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Bayer Consumer Health, Switzerland. Brand Innovation Category.
- Nathalie Pousin: Chief Financial Officer, France, Africa, GSIT, Bureau Veritas, France. Finance Category.
- Petra Melander: EMEA Account Director, Sodexo, Finland. Commercial Performance Category.
- Rebeca Navarro: Chief Transformation Officer for Europe and Head of Procurement, Aryzta, Switzerland. Transformational Leadership Category.
The 24 finalists were assessed against seven criteria: Leadership, Cognitive Ability, Integrity, Drive and Resilience, Equality, Knowledge of the Business, and Personal Development. All candidates were assessed blind with no name or company revealed in their application.
To choose the winners, eight executive interviewers held 30-minute interviews with the three finalists in each category before each choosing a category winner. The judges were:
- Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK
- Viswas Raghavan, CEO EMEA, JP Morgan
- Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce
- Dame Inga Beale, Chair Designate, Mediclinic
- Chris O’Shea, CEO, Centrica
- Ron Kalifa OBE, Chairman, Network International
- Tamara Box, Managing Partner EMEA, Reed Smith LLP
- Tulsi Naidu, CEO, Zurich Insurance Company UK
All the 24 award finalists have been given access to a range of WeQual support services and networks designed to help them make the step up to the group executive level. A quarter of WeQual award winners in the UK and USA have since been promoted to the global executive committees of FTSE and Fortune 500 companies. There are now 96 senior women involved with WeQual globally