Aude de Thuin, founder of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, has stepped back from management of the forum and sold her shares to Publicis.
That’s a bigger step than it sounds. Publicis has had majority control of the Forum’s parent company since 2009, but I can testify, having met de Thuin and attended the first few annual conferences in Deauville (the FT used to be one of its media partners), that she was the heart of the event.
Davos has struggled to shake its alpha-male image, despite its best efforts. Fewer than a fifth of leaders present last year were women.
Hence the flurry of interest in the World Economic Forum’s efforts to increase the number of women attending this year’s conference by insisting on quotas.
In a 2010 World Economic Forum report on corporate practices for gender diversity in 20 countries, 59 per cent of companies surveyed said they offer mentoring and networking programmes, and 28 per cent said they have women-specific programmes.