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Switzerland moves closer to female board quotas


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This week, Switzerland moved closer to requiring minimum percentages of women on company boards and management teams.

A parliamentary commission came out in support of the Federal Council’s plan to require greater gender balance in the boardrooms of Switzerland’s large listed companies.

A commission majority (14 versus 11) would like to see a minimum of 30% of board members and 20% of the management of these companies made up of each gender – a 100% female boardroom would fall foul of planned rules too.

Companies failing to comply would need to explain themselves and present plans to meet the requirements.

A majority of the commission wants the transition period to be three years for boards and five years for management teams. This is shorter than the five and ten year periods in the Federal Council’s plan. Transition would start once the rules were in force.

The commission, which is working for the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, is formulating gender quota rules for inclusion in Swiss company law alongside legal changes implementing the successful vote to rein in excessive pay packages at some large companies. The 2013 vote on management pay, dubbed the Minder initiative after Thomas Minder, the politician behind it, was supported by 68% of voters.

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