BNY Mellon IM CEO Hanneke Smits named global chair of 30% Club

Succeeding the outgoing Ann Cairns


BNY Mellon Investment Management CEO Hanneke Smits (pictured) has been appointed global chair of diversity campaign 30% Club.

Founded by Dame Helena Morrissey in 2012, the 30% Club aims to increase gender diversity of boards and senior management in the world’s largest companies.

Smits succeeds outgoing global chair Ann Cairns, who took up the role in 2020 after joining the campaign as co-chair a year earlier.

Under Cairns, 30% Club formed chapters in Mexico, Colombia and Chile, while enlarging the UK section’s focus on racial equality.

She said: “On behalf of the members of the 30% Club, we are proud to welcome Hanneke as our new global chair. It will be invaluable to have a respected leader of Hanneke’s experience and calibre join the global campaign at a time when many companies are still struggling to achieve diversity at board and executive levels.

“In the UK, for instance, we may have reached 40% women on the boards of the FTSE 100, but the majority remain in non-executive roles; there are just 25% women at executive committee level and just eight female CEOs. Women of colour remain under-represented at every managerial and leadership level. We must continue to keep diversity and inclusion high on the agenda.”

Having been appointed chief executive of BNY Mellon in 2020, Smits was previously CEO and executive director of Newton Investment Management from 2016. She has also held senior and board level roles at firms including Adams Street Partners, Investment Association, and the Bank of England.

Smits added: “It is an honour to succeed Ann Cairns as global chair of the 30% Club and to continue its mission of increasing the number of women at board and senior management levels. The role of the 30% Club is as vital now as it was at launch in 2010.

“Even today, the baseline target of reaching 30% women – either at board or senior management level – remains a stretch for many organisations throughout the world. Reaching the campaign’s ultimate goal of gender parity will take significant effort and investment. I look forward to continuing to grow the 30% Club internationally and tackle a wider range of diversity challenges, inside and outside the boardroom.”

See also: Helena Morrissey’s Diversity Project to turbo charge female manager numbers


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