Dubourg, Kreis, Nemat: Do supervisory boards lack the courage to become “first ladies”?

First Lady

In its current issue, Wirtschaftswoche has analysed which female managers have a chance of being promoted to “First Lady” – i.e. the first chief executive officer in the Dax. Among the candidates are Lisa Davis (Siemens), Saori Dubourg (BASF), Melanie Kreis (Deutsche Post) and Claudia Nemat (Deutsche Telekom). However, personnel consultants are sceptical as to whether one of the currently 26 women members of the Dax executive board will actually make the leap to the top in 2019 – and criticise the supervisory boards: they are “usually over 60 years old and don’t want to stain their careers with a possible misappointment shortly before the end,” quotes Wirtschaftswoche Sabine Hansen von Kienbaum.

Despondent managers, despondent supervisory boards?

In other words, many supervisory boards are of the opinion that they have no courage to make unconventional decisions – especially since so far only a few women have joined the personnel committees. Others stress that even the managers themselves often lack courage: “Women in Germany often don’t dare to do enough themselves,” says Conti personnel manager Ariane Reinhart. So who bears the main responsibility for the fact that there is still no Dax boss: discouraged women or discouraged supervisory boards? That doesn’t matter, if I may say so myself. What is clear is that both sides must become more courageous. Then it works out with the “First Lady” – and hopefully not only that one.