Energy industry launches new coalition on gender diversity CEOs pledge to step up action in response to new statistics

Energy industry launches new coalition on gender diversity CEOs pledge to step up action in response to new statistics

A new initiative is being launched today 22 May 2018 to drive up the number of women at senior levels and middle management in the UK’s energy industry.

The Energy Leaders’ Coalition comprises eight of the leading CEOs from the UK’s energy sector who are making a public declaration [1] to improve gender diversity in their companies and in the sector as a whole.

Welcoming the initiative, Business Secretary Greg Clark said;

“If companies fail to have diversity at the top of their business they are missing out on the full talent available to them. While some energy companies have made progress to improve diversity in the boardroom, we need all companies in this sector to step up. Foresighted initiatives like this new coalition will break down barriers and help ensure that women are not held back and are given equal opportunities in the workplace.”

The new Coalition, announced by the Secretary of State at the House of Lords on the eve of POWERful Women’s Annual Conference [2] in London, has been launched in response to new board statistics also published today [3].  These show that little progress has been made by the UK’s top 80 energy companies [4] over the past 12 months in meeting targets to improve gender diversity:

  • Women still occupy only 13% of board seats (up from 11% in 2017);
  • Women still occupy only 6% % of executive board seats (same as 2017)
  • Half the companies have no women on their boards at all (up from 46%)


Ruth Cairnie, Chair of POWERful Women, said;

“Our latest statistics show that, while some progress has been made in getting women into senior positions, it is moving far too slowly.  We are missing out on a wealth of female talent. The Energy Leaders’ Coalition shows what good leadership looks like and we hope will inspire others in the sector to take convincing action.”

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower, said;

“I have always believed that a diverse workforce is the best way to drive success in an organisation and we’ve already seen with the emergence of the gender pay gap this year, the underrepresentation of women in senior roles brought more front of mind for business leaders than ever before. We’re proud to join the Energy Leaders Coalition and hope to lead by example by showing how gender diverse teams with strong leadership can deliver far greater levels of innovation, creativity and success for our business.”

The Coalition comprises the following eight CEOs:

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, ScottishPower

Juliet Davenport OBE, Chief Executive, Good Energy

John Pettigrew, Chief Executive, National Grid

Alistair Philips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE

Simone Rossi, Chief Executive, EDF Energy

Matthew Wright, Managing Director, Ørsted UK

Paul Cowling, Managing Director, innogy Renewables UK

Sinead Lynch,UK Country Chair, Shell

Each recognises that there is a rich pool of talented women in the sector who can make a significant contribution to the growth of their business and to the transformation of the UK’s energy sector to meet the challenges of the coming decades.

The members of the Energy Leaders’ Coalition are at different stages of the journey to meeting government and industry targets – some have made good progress and but all are honest that they have a way to go and will benefit from the experience and support of their fellow CEOs.

The Coalition will meet regularly to review their progress, share evidence of what works and plan actions to improve.  They will act as Ambassadors to encourage and support others in the sector to accelerate change, by demonstrating the benefits to their business.

The POWERful Women Annual Conference will also see the launch of a new report on gender pay gap by Korn Ferry Hay Group and POWERful Women.  It discusses the steps companies in the energy sector are taking to address the gender pay gap and five ways they can supercharge their efforts [5].



Anna Stanford +44 7961 23463 at



  1. Further quotes from the Energy Leaders’ Coalition:

We can put you in touch with their media team if you would like to arrange an interview.

Juliet Davenport, CEO and Founder, Good Energy, said;

“I’ve seen first-hand in Good Energy that a diverse workforce, and a gender balanced board, make for a better business. Not only that, there’s also evidence that gender diversity could be a part of our switch to a greener future in the energy sector — we know that sustainability focussed businesses tend to be more balanced. That’s why, whilst it’s positive we have seen some progress in women moving into senior positions in energy, it’s absolutely crucial that this change continues to accelerate.”

John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid said;

“At National Grid we understand that increasing the diversity of the workplace is crucial to ensuring we have the best and most talented people to do our vital work. There is an issue across the energy industry in attracting, promoting and retaining female talent. That’s why initiatives like Powerful Women are great forums to help us come together to drive not only gender diversity but inclusion of more women in senior roles within the energy industry.”

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE plc, said; 

“SSE believe greater difference causes broader debate, leading to better decisions and ultimately improved business delivery which is why we are fully committed to improving diversity and inclusion in its widest sense.  SSE was one of the first FTSE 100 companies to publish its gender pay gap in 2016 and has a plan to make SSE a more inclusive employer. As part of this we have implemented a wide range of targeted measures to encourage woman in, support women on and encourage women up in the organisation.  We’re making progress but there’s more work to be done and our Coalition will help drive this forward to make meaningful impact across the industry.”

Simone Rossi, CEO of EDF Energy, said;

“We are proud to be supporting the Energy Leaders’ Coalition as it launches today. Having a more representative workforce makes good business sense. Historically there has been a high percentage of men working in the energy sector, and we are tackling this issue. We still don’t have enough women in senior positions.  We are committed to ensuring women take up more senior roles in our organisation, including developing the support networks to help them advance.  The new Coalition will allow us to share knowledge effectively and work collectively to increase gender diversity and encourage change in our industry.”

 Matthew Wright, Managing Director, Ørsted UK, said;

Ørsted has joined the Energy Leaders Coalition because we want to influence positive change on diversity and Inclusion within our industry. We also want to identify and adopt best practice within our business so we continue to attract the best minds to help us with the fight against climate change. We need people that will challenge the status quo, bring new ideas to the table and inspire others to do the same; we can’t do that without diversity.”

Paul Cowling, innogy Renewables’ Managing Director in the UK, said;

“We are very excited to be supporting this event. A truly diverse workforce has significant direct and indirect benefits and we are passionate about creating equal opportunities for all.  innogy believes that gender equality is a moral and business imperative. Having more female voices at all levels unlocks diverse ways of thinking, different management styles and approaches to problem-solving. We are actively pursuing this goal and have set ourselves some ambitious objectives.”

Sinead Lynch, UK Country Chair, Shell, said;

“Our industry is adapting to a changing energy system. For Shell to lead in the energy transition, we need to be a true meritocracy. We need to attract the best talent and enable those individuals to thrive and fulfil their potential. Diversity, in all its forms, will be how we find the best solution to the challenges and opportunities ahead. For us, it makes good business sense to support and empower women at every stage of their career.”

  1. About POWERful Women

POWERful Women is a professional initiative that seeks to promote the professional growth and leadership development of women across the energy sector.  Our goals are to see 30% of executive board roles and 40% of management roles filled by women by 2030.  We do this in three ways:  campaigning and reporting (for example publishing annual board statistics), supporting women in their careers (for example through our mentoring programme, POWERful Connections) and providing practical support to companies committed to increase their gender diversity.  More information at

  1. 2018 Board statistics

Each year POWERful Women measures the performance of the top 80 UK energy companies with regard to the number of women at board and executive board member level. Their work on examining the Gender Pay Gap statistics also provide a proxy for the number of women in middle management. The POWERful Women statistics by company for 2018 are available on their website:

  1. These are companies that meet two of three criteria: are listed on the London Stock Exchange, have a head office in the UK or are a significant employer in the UK.
  1. Sparking Action. How the UK’s gender pay gap legislation has given companies in the energy sector a fresh impetus to change’ will be launched by Desi Kimmins of Korn Ferry Hay Group on the morning of the conference on the 23rd.