The WomenCorporateDirectors’ (WCD) community comprises 31 chapters and over 1,000 members who are active on 1,200 boards of directors. WCD’s Founding Partners are Heidrick & Struggles, an international top executive search and leadership advisory firm, and KPMG, a leading audit and consulting firm. “The impetus for founding the Swiss chapter was the clear opportunity for international level networking among women serving on boards of directors, which WCD actively promotes via its local chapters and international communication platforms,” explains Bianka Wilson, Advisory Partner at KPMG Switzerland, who advises multi-national companies and their boards and co-founded WCD in Switzerland.
WCD’s first Swiss event was held in Zurich, with personal introduction from Henrietta Holsman Fore, WCD Global Co-chair, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Holsman International, Director of Theravance, Inc., and previously a top US diplomat. Monika Ribar, President and CEO of Panalpina, Franziska Tschudi, CEO and Delegate of the Board of Directors of Wicor Holding and Director of Swiss Life Holding Ltd and economiesuisseand Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli, Vice-President for Innovation and Technology Transfer at EPFL in Lausanne, have dedicated time to serve as inaugural co-chairs of the Swiss chapter. "The strength and benefit of the Swiss and international WCD community - as evidenced by the diversity of expertise and experience among the women board directors engaged at the launch dinner last week - is undisputed and ensures an excellent start for valuable future networking and further corporate governance knowledge exchange and development," explains Monika Ribar, President and CEO of Panalpina. Also present was Maria Livanos Cattaui, Member of the Board of Directors of Petroplus Holding AG, who also supports the WCD in an advisory role.
Wolfgang Schmidt-Soelch, Managing Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, is convinced: “An initiative such as this was long overdue in Switzerland. I consider the creation of an organization for women in positions of leadership to be a vital contribution toward the promotion of women in senior management.” A recently published study by Heidrick & Struggles on corporate governance at major European corporations shows that Swiss companies, where women comprise 11% of boards of directors, still have a lot of catching up to do. Whilst only marginally short of the European average of 12%, they are still far behind the leaders Norway (33%), Sweden (29%) and Finland (25%).
The next WCD meeting is contemplated later this fall in the Swiss Romande. Plans for the future foresee three to four events per year to be held alternating in Zurich and Geneva, possibly also in Basel and Lausanne, with around 20 participants each.
Zurich, May 9, 2011
For further information, please contact:
Furrer.Hugi&Partner KPMG AG
Cécile Bachmann Andreas Hammer
Partner und Senior Consultant Head of Public Relations & Public Affairs
Telephone: +41 31 312 18 48 Telephone: +41 44 249 48 20
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