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Retail hires top number of female bosses

The retail sector recruited the highest number of women to senior jobs during 2018, as almost a quarter of chief appointments went to female candidates.

Research from search agency Korn Ferry found that of 44 appointments for chief executive roles during 2018, nearly a quarter were female.

In total, 24% of CEOs appointed at retailers during 2018 were women, up from 18% in 2017. This is the highest proportion since the tracker began in 2012. 

Those taking the top jobs included Liz Evans, who moved from Oasis and Warehouse to become chief executive at Fat Face, new Jack Wills CEO Suzanne Harlow and Melinda Paraie, who took the reins at Cath Kidston.

The figures come in a turbulent time for retail’s top bosses, as big names such as Ray Kelvin and Sir Philip Green face accusations over their conduct.

Sarah Lim, managing director at Korn Ferry, said the figures show there has been some progress towards increasing diversity in retail board rooms: “Over the past two years there has been increasing pressure on retailers to address this issue, and it’s gratifying to see signs of positive action.”

Last week, Drapers launched its first gender equality survey to determine how the fashion industry is progressing in this area ahead of International Women’s Day in March. The survey is open to all genders.

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