It is a vote that will be scrutinized up to the highest summit of the State, concerned about the content of the message sent. This Sunday evening, in the secrecy of its Sunday board of directors, the Danone company, one of the jewels of the French and global agrifood industry, will appoint its new CEO. And there is every chance that the successor of Emmanuel Faber, landed in March, is a man, in the person of Antoine de Saint-Affrique who has the favor of the forecasts. Even as a woman, Nathalie Roos ran for office. With almost equal CV, the choice will be made and perpetuate male control at the risk of letting the business world appear as completely hermetic to feminization in its highest positions.
Without having the feeling of tackling a lost cause, the company Women First took up the cause of the candidate passed by Kronenbourg and L'Oréal. Its founder Olivier Marti organized an intense digital lobbying campaign, convinced to be in the direction of history and to "embody the rupture". “She has the skills, the personality and she is reassuring. But that doesn't seem to be enough. There is a blockage. If it is necessary to have already managed a company to be appointed then the choice will always relate to the same candidate. "A reproduction of the elites", according to the teacher-researcher at the Paris School of Business, Nathalie Bitbol-Saba. "The majority of male voters are in self-production and do not want to take any risks," she analyzes. As for women,they are in self-censorship because they do not see others in the highest offices. "
Yet the picture is not so dark.
Ten years after a first law known as Copé-Zimmermann which imposed parity on boards of directors, France is even considered the best student in Europe.
But the last step that leads to executive functions is difficult to climb.
“A third of women in Danone's executive committee, where the whole strategy is decided and developed, is too little,” says Corinne Hirsch, expert in professional equality and director of the Aequiso firm.
This is why we have to go through quantified objectives, a term that I prefer to that of quotas.
The law passed by the secretary Elisabeth Moreno goes in this direction.
"That they stop presenting clones in ties who wear the same costume"
In strategy, Corinne Hirsch concedes a mistake that she thought 20 years ago that women were only lacking "a few keys to impose themselves at the head of large companies." The problem is systemic. “For the business world, created by and for men, change is necessary. “The general management must stimulate a dynamic, modify the recruitment rules. "" Evolution is necessary in headhunters as well. That they stop presenting clones in tie who wear the same costume, “chokes Olivier Marti. According to Nathalie Bitbol-Saba, the solution will go through “the creation of pools of female executives capable of targeting management positions, in order to create a good dynamic. "
And Corinne Hirsch to outline a few avenues to prevent a Danone scenario from repeating itself. “One could imagine pairs or alternating presidencies at the presidency of large groups. In this way at the time of the election, we would no longer ask the question of a woman's legitimacy. "