Around 12% of board members at Europe’s largest companies are women, so LVMH isn’t even doing too badly with a 17% female board. Nonetheless, recognizing that number was still noticeably low, the company has signed a pledge to increase the number of women on all its corporate boards (the luxury group controls brands ranging from Louis Vuitton to Benefit Cosmetics to Veuve Clicquot).
The pledge, which was voluntary, was the work of Vivian Reding, the European Justice Commissioner. Its goals specify that LVMH’s boards are run by 30% women by 2015, increasing to 40% by 2020. Interestingly, Reding told WWD that part of the impetus for increasing women’s role at the top of these companies is the fact that Europe is an “aging continent.” So, if there aren’t enough young people to mine for talent, one needs to turn to a different untapped resource — and that happens to be women (60% of Europe’s university graduates are female). Fine. We’re going to take the stance that the end justifies the means, for now. We’re looking forward to seeing which female execs are added to the conglomerate’s various boards.