Martin's in Charge: Where CEOs with Shared Names Outnumber Female CEOs

As policies change the makeup of company boards, there are still almost no female CEOs. We've looked at stock benchmarks across Europe and found some depressingly comical statistics.

Lukas Strobl 8 March, 2023 | 10:30AM
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There are 40 companies in Italy’s FTSE MIB equity benchmark, and not one of them is led by a female CEO. Five of them are led by men named Paolo.

In a twist on Morningstar’s series on the under-representation of women among Europe’s fund managers, we’re taking a look at the shockingly lop-sided gender balance in the top executive job of companies in Europe’s stock indices. On International Womens’ Day, one generally learns many percentage figures ranging from pay inequity to the uptake of paternity leave. Those are certainly more empirically rigorous, but the sheer absurdity of single-digit-percentage female leadership may be best illustrated by pitting it against the prevalence of common male first names.

The least depressing spots on this map are the UK, Norway and Croatia, where the share of female CEOs is in the double digits and exceeds that of CEOs named Andrew, Anders and Igor, respectively. France also stands out, with a whopping three female-led companies in the CAC 40, narrowly beating companies led by Benoits, Bernards and Oliviers.

There are no bright spots in Central Europe, meanwhile. Guys called Christian outnumber women in Germany—where just two DAX companies, Fresenius Medical (FME) and Merck KGaA (MRK), are female-led-- and Switzerland, where 20 of 20 firms in the SMI have men in the top job. Two of Poland’s 20 largest stocks in the WIG Index have female CEOs, while none do in Czechia’s PX or Hungary’s BUX. Though a fifth of the stocks in both Prague and Budapest are led by Jans and Gabors.

Between now and the next International Womens’ Day in a year, you may forget that 34% of supervisory board members in the EU are women. We’re hoping that you’ll keep an eye on the far more dire situation in executive leadership, and the tight race between Benoits and literally half of France’s population.

Female CEOs aren't double-counted in the case of multiple listings. Regional executives are counted instead. Story update adds mention of Merck KgaA as female-led DAX member.

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About Author

Lukas Strobl  is the editorial manager for EMEA at Morningstar.

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