Revealed: Top 30 men tackling gender inequality in the workplace

The Women’s Business Council and Management Today have today revealed the top 30 men challenging the status quo and promoting gender equality in workplaces across the UK.

The 2017 Agents of Change power list celebrates 30 male leaders who are actively working alongside women to change working cultures and practices, drive gender equality initiatives and shatter glass ceilings. Over 150 men were nominated, from a range of sectors, including: education; media; and the financial services industry.

Nominations were judged by Management Today’s editor Matthew Gwyther and features editor Kate Bassett alongside Cilla Snowball, chair of the Women’s Business Council, Helene Reardon-Bond of the Goverment Equalities Office and Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of GlaxoSmithKline and co-author of the Hampton-Alexander Review on improving gender balance in FTSE leadership.

The power list was revealed today at Management Today’s Inspiring Women in Business conference in Edinburgh, sponsored by Accenture.

The announcement comes ahead of the government’s Gender Pay Gap reporting regulations coming into effect this April. This will require all employers with over 250 staff to report their gender pay gap and their gender bonus pay gap.

The Gender Pay Gap is currently the lowest on record at 18.1 per cent. The government has been taking action to tackle this gap by increasing efforts to get more women into the top jobs at the UK’s biggest companies, introducing shared parental leave and extending the right to request flexible working to all employers.

Alongside the Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements, the government will also be providing working parents with up to 30 hours of free childcare from September to help tackle the gap.

Cilla Snowball, chair of the Women’s Business Council said:

“This list champions the male leaders who are making a difference for women in many fields of work. We can’t empower women without involving men. We applaud all of this year’s nominees; every single entry showed gender equality in action and provided a brilliant bank of case studies on how to challenge the status quo.”

Matthew Gwyther, editor of Management Today said:

“Women in business is now definitely a man’s issue. From the biggest FTSE down to early stage SMEs, the Agents of Change campaign is now on the march.”

Minister for Women, Equalities and Early Years, Caroline Dinenage said:

“Equality isn’t just a women’s issue. It is everyone’s business and benefits both men and women alike. These men – from teachers, to civil servants and chief executives – are all doing fantastic things to champion women in the workplace.

“This power list is a fantastic way to celebrate the good practice already happening in workplaces across the country. I hope it inspires even more men to get involved in smashing the glass ceiling so that everyone can reach their full potential and help us to eliminate the gender pay gap.”

The Agents of Change winners include Chris Norwood, a head teacher at Northfleet School for Girls, who developed bespoke teaching models to raise girls’ aspirations into STEM and enterprise. He also built confidence through mentoring and delivered a pilot study for Your Daughter’s Future – a Women’s Business Council and Government Equalities Office toolkit designed to help girls and their parents consider different career options.

Chief operating officer for Sky, Chris Stylianou has been recognised for his role as the executive sponsor of Sky’s Women in Leadership programme. He has helped to drive female talent, push gender-balanced shortlists for all job vacancies and supports working parents by offering all employees six free days of emergency childcare.

In the financial sector, Lloyds Banking Group’s group director and CEO Commercial Banking, Andrew Bester, oversaw Lloyds becoming the first FTSE 100 company to make a public commitment on gender equality. Lloyds Banking Group vowed that 40 per cent of its top jobs would be held by women by 2020. Since Bester took on the role of executive sponsor for inclusion and diversity in 2014, the proportion of female external hires into senior management roles has jumped 5 per cent. Senior female promotions have also upped 5 per cent and the bank has banned all-male shortlists for top jobs.

The full list includes:

Aki Stamatis Chairman, Fourfront Group
Andrew Bester Group Director & CEO Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking
Andrew Lawson UK&I Managing Director and SVP North Europe, Middle East and Africa Salesforce
Andrew Hill Management Editor, Financial Times
Ben Black & Oliver Black

Joint nomination

Oliver Black My Family Care
Chris Norwood Head teacher at Northfleet School for Girls
Chris Stylianou Chief Op Officer, UK & ROI, Sky
Chris Brook-Carter Managing Director, Retail Week
Chris Murphy Group Managing Director (Europe, the Middle East and South Asia) ThoughtWorks
David Sproul Senior Partner & CEO of Deloitte in the UK and is a member of the Deloitte Global Executive
Edwin Alford VP Buisness Application Services BP
General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE ADC Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) Ministry of Defence
Kevin Ellis Chairman and senior partner PwC
Marc Allera CEO EE
Mervyn Davies Lord & Ex Minister, Chair of Corsair, SID Diagio
Mike Haigh Group managing director and business representative of Advance employee network, Mott MacDonald
Mike Putnam President & CEO, Skanska UK
Neil Williamson CEO Jardine Motors Group
Nick Baughan CEO Maxus UK
Paul Kissack Director General Civil Service
Philip Thomas CEO, Cannes Lions
Richard Robinson Managing Partner, Oystercatchers
Robert Hannigan Director, GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters
Roger Whiteside CEO, Greggs PLC
Russ Shaw Founder, Tech London Advocates
Sir Roger Carr Chairman, BAE Systems, nominated by Speakers for Schools
Steve Hatch Regional Director Northern Europe, Facebook
Steve Varley Chairman and Managing Partner UK&I, EY (Ernst & Young)
Tom Knox CEO and President, Mullen Lowe and IPA
Vittorio Colao Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Group


@MT_Women @WomenEqualities #AgentsofChange

Notes to editors:

Media contact: Kate Bassett, features editor, Management Today – 020 8267 5472;

Women’s Business Council: The Women’s Business Council was set up in 2012 to advise Government on how women’s contribution to growth can be optimised. The aim has been to focus on areas with the greatest potential economic benefit and on recommendations with a clear economic case for action.

Management Today: Over five decades Management Today has taken the business publishing world by storm, combining hard-hitting editorial with innovative design. Online, in print and in its popular live events, MT is where the men and women who shape British business go to think.

Accenture: Principal partner of MT’s Women in Business coverage and events, Accenture employs more than 145,000 women, representing more than one third of its global workforce. In 2016, 30 per cent of Accenture’s managing director promotions were women. “Men clearly have a role in helping to create the flexible working environment in which women can excel,” says Bill McDonald, MD, Accenture Scotland. “Through good work practices it is possible to create opportunity for both men and women.”


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