A "balanced relationship between women and men" on the top six management levels: The fashion retailer Zalando introduces a gender quota for its management. The proportion of women should be between 40 and 60 percent.
Management recently had to put up with critical questions because there are five men on the board, but not one woman. In the most recent enlargement of the panel, those responsible referred to the suitability of each candidate.
"For the past eleven years, our focus has been clearly on establishing and growing our business," said Zalando co-CEO Rubin Ritter. "We have not made enough efforts to counteract the resulting structural imbalance." The leadership teams are not varied enough.
In 2018, about two-thirds of all executives in the MDax company in Berlin were men - the higher the management level, the lower the proportion of women. So far, the goal has been a female quota of 25 percent at the level below the board and 30 percent at the level below. In 2018, 11 or 16 percent of executives were women. The new quota also applies to the Supervisory Board and the Management Board.
"Diversity at all levels of the company leads to better decisions, promotes a creative culture and, at best, increases the overall performance," said Cristina Stenbeck, who has been re-director of the Supervisory Board since May. Zalando wants to be more diverse, not only on gender, but also in internationality and education. There should be an annual report on this.
Mandatory quota only for supervisory bodies
Since the beginning of 2016, the approximately 100 largest listed and fully co-determined companies in Germany have to fill at least 30 percent of the posts on their supervisory boards with women under the German Stock Corporation Act. For the management there are only requirements for the levels below the board. The online retailer Zalando SE has around 14,000 employees throughout Europe.
In the top floors of listed companies, there are more women than ever before. In the 160 companies listed on the stock market indices Dax, MDax and SDax, 61 women - but also 640 men - were in the first half of this year, according to a study by the consulting firm EY. The proportion of women was thus just under 9 percent.