ASO Leadership ASO Women Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Management Guest Writers

More Women In Board of Directors

Müge Yalçın – MY Executive Founding Partner

As you know, the top management body of a company is the board of directors. Its missions are directing the company, determining a vision, forming strategies and supervising the performance. With its shareholders, it acts as a bridge between them and the top management. A good structure of the management board, identifying and choosing the right candidates for it and supports from independent members are the key points in managing a company well. According to the World Economic Forum, Turkey is the world’s 16th largest economy, but when the subject comes to management boards, it ranks 125th among 133 countries in terms of effectiveness. So, there are many ways to get more. The precondition of showing high performances in the board is having the right people around the table.

Experience, independence, knowledge and diversity as well as having the right competence levels are the determining factors in performance. One way of achieving diversity in a board of management is to create a gender balance. Mixed male and female boards are both more creative and more effective in generating solutions. In this regard, we have implemented a survey about the structure of the board of directors in public companies as MY Executive. We have reached important data with this study. Among Turkey’s 49 important companies that joined our survey, 91 percent of them have a male sitting in the presidential chair. But on the other side, the percentage of men in the board of directors goes down to 83 percent, whereas women reaches 17 percent.

Yes, these rates are very low, but in management boards where the corporate governance principles are fully implemented, even in the countries where their structures are formed in this direction, the proportion of women members who take part in the CC are being discussed and studies are being done to increase this ratio. These topics in our country where it is crawling yet can also be considered as a chance. From the very beginning, companies should see the diversity principle when they go out to create a healthier board structure. They can think about opening spaces for female members. For women whose work-life assets have seen significant increases in recent years, the research done in different countries actually gives the same result. More women must be in management. Their performance in the business world is also pointing to their higher presence in the top management. Women are more likely to support the governing bodies to create an image and asense of trust, when the chances are given. Besides, the diversity of the board of directors and the resulting performance is evaluated as an important point in rating and crediting agencies.

One of the modern approaches in management that is supported by scientific evidence in today’s world, a key element for a successful performance target especially for senior executives is emotional intelligence. The necessity of emotional intelligence has also been revealed in many psycho-social tests for success in almost every sector and profession. It is also being sad that a top executive is successful if he / she has emotional intelligence and is able to use it as often as needed. In this respect, emotional intelligence levels of women are higher, thus provides an important advantage to them when they exhibit their achievements in management. As we prepare the list of potential candidates in the selection of Board of Directors as MY Executive, we are paying attention to have female members. In doing so, we aim to provide diversity. But the sole criterion is, of course, not to be a woman. We also want all of our proposed candidates to be competent in the required experience level.

When determining our potential candidates, obviously finding female candidates equal to the number of male candidates is difficult. Although there are many women in the first steps of their career, unfortunately, the number of experienced women in management here is not much. In female candidates who can be evaluated as a member of the board, there are certain competencies and qualifications like in male ones. First of all, strategic thinkers and vision holders who can analyze the company’s activities and results well alongside with careful controllers of the financial situation are preferred. It is also important that they have the adequate financial knowledge and experience. In addition, companies are looking for candidates’ job experiences and network of relationships both at home and abroad, while choosing the independent members of the board.

We aren’t able to do a lot of projects since the demand of independent, female board members from the companies is not yet widespread, but we’re pleasantly aware of the increasing numbers of companies which want to see female candidates enlisted for board membership in order to provide diversity.

I think that if the companies which want to examine and renew the structure of their boards according to the principles of modern corporate governance system increase, the number of women members in the management boards will also increase subsequently.

Who is Müge Yalçın?

After graduating from Boğaziçi University Business Administration Department in 1984, she began his professional business life at Arthur Andersen Management Consulting Division. Between 1988 and 1995, she was a member of the board of directors in various domestic and foreign banks’ Corporate Finance departments. Then she returned to Arthur Andersen in 1999 and was appointed as the Director of the Department of Selection and Evaluation. After the company was sold to Ernst & Young, she continued her job as the president of the Human Resources Consulting Division. She established MY Executive Company in July 2005. She still administrates selection and evaluation activities in there as a management partner.

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