Corporate governance at its best: award winners announced

US-based membership organisation Women Corporate Directors (WCD) yesterday announced the winners of its 2012 WCD Awards.

Named a “talent bank for businesswomen” by the New York Times earlier this year, WCD has more than 1,350 members who serve on 1,500 boards. Its focus is to spread best practice in corporate governance through an international community of senior women.

Henrietta Holsman Fore, global co-chair of the WCD and its awards committee, said:

“Better corporate governance is being seen around the world as one of the key drivers to help economies stabilise and recover. All stakeholders – from shareholders to regulators to consumers – are demanding greater leadership in public and private enterprises, and WCD wants to recognise the companies and individuals who exemplify the strategic leadership required today.”

 The awards recognise companies and individuals who “exemplify good corporate governance”.

Winners include advertising group Publicis; US chipmaker Intel; DuPont, the US chemicals group; and Desjardins, the Canadian financial services company. Publicis’s supervisory board is chaired by Elisabeth Badinter, while Jane Shaw is the first external director to chair Intel. Ellen Kullman, chairwoman and chief executive of DuPont (and ranked sixth in the FT’s Top 50 women in world business), and Monique Leroux, chair and chief executive of Desjardins are honoured for their “commitment to leadership excellence and corporate citizenship”.

Susan Stautberg, co-founder and co-chair of WCD, underlines diversity research findings that stress the importance of critical mass. She says:

“One is a token, two are a presence and three are a voice.”

If these awards can help move the needle beyond tokenism towards genuine diverse leadership, we should all be grateful.

Look out next week for our interview with Monique Leroux, winner of the awards for leadership and governance of a private company.

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