Barratt has committed to announce the hiring of a new woman non-exec to its board within the next two weeks after a shareholder protest at its AGM on the issue of female board representation.
The UK’s biggest housebuilder said it was close to the end of the recruitment process for its next board member, to replace Nina Bibby, and would be announcing the appointment within the next couple of weeks.
The £5.3bn turnover firm was forced to make the statement after more than a fifth of shareholders voted against the re-election of Barratt chair John Allan at the firm’s annual general meeting in London today – a move the business said was a protest against female representation on the board falling below recommended levels upon Nina Bibby’s retirement.
Just 79.7% of those who voted at the AGM voted in favour of John Allan being re-elected as a director of the company, with 20.3% voting against and more than 10% of shareholders also voting against the re-appointment of male non execs Chris Weston and Jock Lennox.
The departure of Nina Bibby means that currently just three out of nine Barratt board members are female, less than the 40% recommended by the government-backed Hampton Alexander Review, which has been adopted by the FTSE.
In a statement accompanying the outcome of the AGM votes, Barratt said: “It is the company’s understanding that the votes against Resolution 5 (the re-election of John Allan) were primarily due to female Board representation falling below the requirements of the Hampton-Alexander review following the AGM, as Nina Bibby did not stand for re-election.”
The firm said it took compliance with the UK corporate governance code seriously and was “mindful of the requirements of the Hampton-Alexander review”, as well as proposed changes to Listing Rules which will require publicly traded firms to either increase female representation to 40% on Boards while ensuring one of the key roles – chair, chief executive, chief financial officer or senior independent director – is held by a woman, or explain why these targets haven’t been met.
Barratt said the nomination committee, chaired by John Allan, was “nearing the end of the recruitment process” for a new non-executive director and will be announcing the “successful female candidate in the next two weeks”.
All motions at the AGM were passed.